The Immigrant’s Guide To Surviving Mumbai Floods

mumbai flood tbr

Contrary to the malicious rumours, The Bombay Report actually loves immigrants, even ones from Virar. If you’re fresh off the metaphorical boat, and have had the good fortune of never experiencing a full-on Mumbai-style Biblical flood, this thoroughly researched survival guide just might save your life.

Floods are very much a facet of life in Mumbai, they’re the result of a 21st century population, with a 20th century drainage system, run by a 19th century bureaucracy. While it would be tempting to blame the government, catalyse a fundamental restructuring of the civic administration, crack down on corruption and usher in a new phase of infrastructure development, it’s much more convenient not to think about it at all. We call it the Spirit of Mumbai, and it’s what makes our city great. But this isn’t an article about how to stop the flooding, it’s about what to do if, or rather when the tides come for you. We know it’s October, and we missed the metaphorical boat on deluge articles, but who knows what could happen.

Stay Put

If you’re indoors, the wisest thing you could possibly do is stay where you are. It’s unlikely that reaching the place you’re trying to get to a few hours earlier will have any impact on the general course of human events. It can be a bit frustrating to have to spend any more time at work or school than absolutely necessary, but I suppose it beats the risk of drowning in a puddle mixed with faecal matter.

Carry A Staff

At The Bombay Report, we’ve always been strong advocates of carrying a staff whenever possible, they make you look knowledgeable, badass, and are useful in most circumstances, including successfully navigating the submerged remains of what was once your city. If you don’t own a staff, one can be sourced from the numerous trees that will have collapsed in the flood. Make sure to tap the ground you’re about to tread on so you don’t fall into an open manhole.

Walk In The Middle Of The Road

Walking in the middle of the road has always been a great Indian tradition, be it human or cow. This isn’t a great idea in normal circumstances, but the event of an inundation it could just save your life. Thanks to the BMC’s outright inability to build levelled roads, the middles of most roads are slightly elevated. Walking in the middle of the road with confidence will keep you in shallower water and most often out of the reach of falling branches. If you insist on walking home, you may as well get there in one piece.

Take The Bus

The most resilient mode of transport in Mumbai isn’t the trains. It’s actually our buses, that steam onward through all circumstances, whether it’s the worst monsoon in a decade or they’ve just hit a pedestrian. If you’re able to hop onto a bus, do it. It doesn’t matter where it’s taking you, it’s always safer to be inside a BEST bus than in its immediate vicinity.

However, no matter what you do, never, ever, swallow any water, or you’ll perish almost instantly.

We hope this list was of some use to you, if you’ve survived a flood and have any neat tricks that could potentially help people, let us know in the comments. Also, if you’re a fan of drinking during natural disasters, check out The Best Bars In Mumbai To Wait Out The Apocalypse.

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