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   The heaviest rains Bombay experienced were in 1947, (July 13, 1987)

when a cyclone hit the city. Or, perhaps, they were not the heaviest but the most destructive. The wind tore out and threw down giant banyan trees on Cruickshank Road (the present Mahapalika Marg) opposite the St. Xavier's College and Cama Hospital. Pedestrians had to climb over the trunks to go to Dhobi Talao and traffic was stopped for several days.At that time it was the wind that did the damage more than the rains. But several years later, I forget which year, Bombay had a downpour lasting nine days. It just rained and rained and rained - a deluge. Not last year, but the year before, there were the unusual rains on a particular day which flooded hitherto safe areas such as Churchgate and Flora Fountain and Nariman Point and Museum. Fortunately, the phenomenon has not repeated. Or am I speaking too soon.Otherwise, monsoons in Bombay have been inconvenient but tame. Marine Drive has giant waves flooding over the embankment and on to the road, the railway tracks get submerged at Grant Road and Sandhurst Road, the Azad Maidan and other maidans become slushy and unplayable, the automatic train signals fail occasionally, but otherwise everything is normal. And attendance in offices is absolutely normal.Which is one of the great merits of Bombay. Rains, no matter how heavy, have never been able to dislocate life in the city. In wet trains, delayed trains, leaking buses, through flooded roads, the citizens of Bombay manage to go to work cheerfully and on time.

Heavy rains have not been an excuse for taking a day off and sitting at home, not even at Mantralaya.We often admire the British. How they can manage to live in such grey, rain-dripping weather. And the Swedes, who have made progress in such cold and hostile weather. But we do not give ourselves much credit, who survive and make a living through some of the world's worst monsoons in a city that is ill-equipped to weather the rains. Because, unlike here, in the West, they have homes, machines, roads, vehicles that are designed to face the winter. In Bombay, the trains have windows jammed, so that you cannot close them, the buses have tops and sides leaking, most of the bus stops have no shelter, in spite of the fact that a shelter with the advertisements painted on it would mean money for the BEST, and almost all motorists are inconsiderate to speed past and splash pedestrians.There are also entire families who live in the hutment colonies in knee deep water throughout the monsoon. Most of the time at home they spend sitting on tops of beds. For them the monsoon is not a season to write poetry in.

 
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