Even after the city was flooded on Tuesday, Mumbai has shaken off the aftermath of the calamity and is well on its way towards normalcy. Mumbaikars are going back to offices, schools are opening back up and life goes on. However, even though Mumbai has shown its capacity to shrug of calamities and rise stronger than ever once more, one cannot forget the people who lent a helping hand when the waters were high and home was far away for many.
There a few Mumbaikars who did their bit to ease fellow citizens during the chaos. Among the good Samaritans were a number of restaurants, which remained open through the night and some even offered food and water to the people who were coming in for shelter.
While many Mumbaikars opened up their homes for people to bunk in for the night, some spent the night at their work places. Among them were the workers at several Doolally outlets. Since they were stranded anyway, the managers briefed their teams to stay open and let any and all rain-swept souls into the premises. “I’m sure there must have been others who did much braver deeds. We just did the least that we could under the circumstances. Our bartenders and other staff were stuck anyway, so we thought we’d keep our doors open for anyone who needed help. A few people did come in and the team gave them some chai and water, so that they could stay dry and warm till they figured out what they wanted to do next,” said Tresha from the Doolally team.
It wasn’t just Doolally. A number of other restaurants and bars kept their doors open well past their closing time and helped people out in any way that they could. While some handed out tea or water, others served food till their kitchen ran out.
While most of the workers at The Bombay Canteen had all been sent home when the weather took a turn for the worse in the afternoon, Chef Thomas Zacharias and co-owner Yash Bhanage remained on the premises along with a handful of others and decided to do what they could for the half-drowned Mumbaikars who wandered in. “The restaurant was closed for dinner. As most of the train lines were shut down, employees who were at the restaurant with chef Thomas and myself ended up playing carom and drinking juice. The restaurant accommodated walk-in guests and offered them tea and biscuits, since the kitchen was closed,” recalled Yash, with a smile.
Lower Parel, being a low-lying area, which is home to a variety of office buildings, was one of the worst hit. Office-goers were stuck for the night, some on the road. Aside from Bombay Canteen, Café Zoe was another eatery, which opened its doors for anyone in need and stayed open through the night. Chef Viraf Patel expressed his pride in his staff for sticking around. “A few people were able to walk in, but it was mainly those working in the area. While we were operational, the rains were a deterrent. Staff members, who got in early, stuck around through the night to help out. Since we had our team already, we also served dinner,” he recalls.
Bandra Kurla Complex was another area, which saw some trouble. A traffic jam of epic proportions had commuters stuck here for hours on end. The nearby Pizza Express workers came to the rescue. To help out these hungry, exhausted souls, the workers wove around the commuters, unmindful of the rain and distributed water and free pizzas. Chief Operations Officer, Deepinder Batth shrugs it off as just another day in the life of the Mumbaikar, while at the same time saluting the indomitable spirit of Mumbai. “When the world says run indoors to save your self, a Mumbaikar says let me get my community safely home first. When the world wonders what the next 24 hrs have in store, the Mumbaikar responds by saying, see you at work at 9 AM tomorrow. I am a Mumbaikar not by circumstance, I am a Mumbaikar because no circumstance could change me,” he signs off.