By Jagruti Verma. Photograph by Trupti Arekar
At around 2 pm yesterday when a stranded Bombardier rake was being taken to the carshed, being pulled by an engine, helpless passengers boarded the train with much enthusiasm. There was a feeling of elation among these commuters, despite dozens of workers trying to restore the collapsed bridge a few footsteps away.
As the train was pulling away from the station, eight Third Year Hotel Management students had just reached the platform. They had been walking on the tracks since noon from Bandra station. “When we reached the college, we were told that it was closed for the day because of the rains. I was able to take a train from Borivali at 7.00 am to reach college, but there was no train to return on. So, we had to walk all the way to Andheri,” said Akshay Rawat.
Anil Parab, who works at Elphinstone Road and Mohammed Ashraf from Nalasopara too, were stuck at Andheri since morning. While Parab walked to Andheri station from Bandra, just like the college students, Ashraf had come to the station from Khar on a colleague's bike.
It wasn't just the commuters that were stranded. Around 10 fisherwomen had to suffer losses of around Rs 60,000 as they didn't have ice or any means to reach the Vasai market, where they were headed from Churchgate. They had to ultimately throw away the fish when it started to smell bad by afternoon. “We were stuck at Andheri since morning and didn't have enough ice with us that would help preserve the fish till afternoon,” said Priti Baja, one of the women who had to suffer losses.
However, the spirit of the city too cropped up in the day, helping some people shun away the gloom. The YMCA Andheri had put across an invitation for people stranded around the area seeking shelter and chai. By evening, two students and one working professional had paid them a visit. “We have received a lot of calls to check if the option was genuine and other enquiries about the space. Though only three people have come here so far,we can easily accommodate 30-40 people. As the rush hour is about to begin, we are hoping for more people to come in,” said a YMCA official.
Even at Andheri station, a ray of hope could be seen in the cups of hot chai, being distributed among the officials and workers busy repairing the damage. The employees at an eatery on Platform 6 of Andheri station were delegated the task of serving around 100 cups of chai and 200 small packets of biscuits to the men at work.