Friday, July 10, 2015

Waterlogged in Kolkata

heavy nighttime rains
- It has rained in Kolkata pretty steadily all day yesterday, and through most of the night. As anyone who knows me will know... this made me really, really happy! I am a hardened and confirmed pluviophile – someone made peaceful and happy by the rain! Some good news on the personal front went extremely well with the (in my opinion) fantastic weather, adding layers of awesomeness to already extant awesomeness.

This morning, I woke happy, ready to take on the world, and looking forward to a day at the office of the NGO I volunteer with. I was going to get a lot of work done, have a lot of fabulous adda, and scandalise a colleague some more with my “nasty” jokes. Then... i looked out the window. It was still raining, and the day promised to be great.

So off i went, to the baby garage, to leave monkey and head for the office. Lalala. Except the garage wala called as i was locking my door ... “dont leave! We are waterlogged! Even the evevator pit is flooded and theres water up to the first step of the staircase!” Okay ... but i've kinda left anyway, so let me get there and i'll see... how bad could it be? Five minutes later garage wali calls “don't turn the cab into this main road! Its all flooded”. So, i'll get off at the corner of the highway and leg it, i think – and say. “But, but how will u walk here? Its all flooded.” i paid no attention. After all she hadn't been outside, she was talking on the basis of what she could see from the balcony.

not so bad :D 
And then, i was at the corner, and the main road WAS flooded, including the sidewalks. And i am talking knee deep. With a sigh i start wading, generally, it wouldn't be so bad, but this is Kolkata. The so-called sidewak is sporadic, appearing and disappearing suddenly, dug up in places while other spots have mounds of tiles or stones. Bad enough on a normal day. When it is all under roughly a foot of muddy water, making all the pitfalls (literal and metaphorical) invisible, well... let's just say the situation is not ideal to be carrying laptops in.

identify the drain and the sidewalk
Did i mention the drain? Oh yeah! This is Kolkata. So this new, planned, township part of the city has large open drains... about 2.5 feet deep and roughly a foot wide. Which, by the way, are also under water and equally invisible at this moment.

So, here i am, engaged in a recarious, foot slipping, blood curdling, slipper sliding wade through to the baby garage, and i also have to worry about whether i am veering too far to the right and might end up in the bloody drain! (dont even get me started on what's probably in the water i am wading through. The less i think about it at this point the better.

And then! It starts to pour! And i mean pour like there is no goddamn tomorrow, umbrellas are redundant, raincoats dont matter, whatever you do it will get you anyway kind of pour! So, somehow trying to protect the lappy from getting too much of nature's largesse, and trying to prevent my sizeable rear end from ending up in the water or in the drain, and trying to prevent myself breaking a foot or an ankle in an unseen, hiding under the water sidewalk pothole, i somehow manage to get to the building.

Now i must trudge up five floors (water in lift well, remember? Hence no elevator service, aint that great?). So anyhow, i made it in one piece. 

And the first thing i did was run to the roof of the building to try to catch some of the chaos on film. Empty highway was a testament to cabs and buses being mostly off the streets, people were returning dejected from the Metro Rails station, and some of the local train lines were out as well.

Well, got a dose of childhood :D a RAINY DAY from work, and khichudi for lunch. Almost worth the little swim in the morning.