Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mumbai Monsoons and the wrath of the Mithi

One of my colleagues from Delhi was once commenting over phone regarding Mumbai rains. He was making fun of the drainage system and water logging and trains being effected during heavy rains. I told him that there were two reasons for it -

One : Mumbai, being on the coastline, experiences more rains than Delhi. And of course, the tides effect it as well.

Two : Most of Mumbai is reclaimed land. And a number of small rivers are silently buried within the city. During heavy rains and high tide, these rivers show their presence / wrath through increased water levels, so that we're reminded constantly of what we've done to them. Mithi river (buried in the Andheri Kurla stretch of land and going upto Dadar) is one such example. It has remained as a gutter or nalla in some places. Everyone dreads the wrath of Mithi (also known as Mahim creek).

My colleague agreed and that's how our conversation ended.

Let us understand that Mumbai as it is now is a united area of seven Islands. Isle of Bombay, Colaba, Old Woman's Island (Little Colaba), Mahim, Mazagaon, Parel, Worli. These Islands alongwith the nearby islands of Trombay and Salsette were merged to form Greater Bombay. A number of small rivers and creeks are thus buried beneath Mumbai and these rise with heavy monsoons and high tides during monsoons.

I'd further like to add here that Mumbai, being the financial capital, is more in the spotlight for any reason from heavy rains to potholes to crowded trains to buses etc. It always rains heavily along the Indian coastline resulting in flooding, rivers overflowing and the like. But in smaller places/ villages, it is never highlighted as an issue. Rains had started in Goa and Konkan region much before it rained in Mumbai. One of our relatives in Goa had called last month to tell us how rains were very heavy this year and many parts had flooded. But I never saw it on National Television. In fact, even with two days of continuous rains there has not been much flooding as previous years except in ex-river zones like Milan subway (this was also supposed to be a bridge over a river/ creek but none is seen there now), saki naka, kurla, mahim etc. Beneath these areas lies the Mithi River and maybe many more small creeks/ rivers. These will continue to show their wrath during monsoons!
Read about the history and geography of the Mithi river through this link :


sk said...

I still remember the night of the Mumbai flood. That time I was staying in Mumbai. The maximum water level in my place was 15 feet. So you can understand how terribly we were affected. Some people whom I knew also lost their lives in the flood. That day I realized that we just need 3 things in life: Roti, Kapda and Makan....All ATM cards were useless. Not a single penny in my pocket, I had to borrow money from people coming from unaffected places to even buy the necessary items. Our ruthless boss sent vehicles to our houses to take us to office to get everything up and running, in order to meet the deadlines set up by their higher ups. After meeting all the deadlines in office and bringing some order at home, by the time I took my car to the garage, it was too late. It took almost 4 months to get it back from the garage.
I had never even thought that I will ever have such an experience in my life, and that too in Mumbai.

Shagufta said...

Uh oh! Almost everyone in Mumbai has some or the other story of 26th July, 2005 etched in their minds. I have my own story too. Sad to know you lost some people known to you. Many companies were definately heartless and expected people to be there! The less said the better.
May God bless us all from such calamaties!

sushant said...

has to come from delhiite dey are obsessed wid our city n keep on lookin for pros n cons of it...while we hardly care whad happens ova der!

Shagufta said...

All Delhiites aren't that bad, yaar. I like the wide and clean roads of Delhi and also like the systematic way in which Metro Rails are managed.

Shagufta said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sushant said...

i've neva been to delhi but me glad dat capital has organised road system!

Shagufta said...

Sushant, I thought you were originally from Delhi and staying in Mumbai on and off!

sushant said...

me a delhiite noways, no offence but me very much a mumbaikar like thou bein in colleg in pune for past 3 years...but a delhiite no defi not!