Yesterday (14/08/2008) I needed to get out of the office around 4.00 in the evening to attend a meeting elsewhere. There were three of us. A little while ago the skies had opened and the rain was coming down like anything. Standing at the gate of our office, we saw a river on the street (it happens whenever it rains heavily around my office area). The meeting was canceled because the river on the road would lead to massive traffic jams later and we would never be able to make it back to our office again. Not before 10 at night at least!
I took the car out and 100 meters ahead there was a small jam. I did not think too much about it. But the next door big software consultancy office also decided to let their employees go before time. They have more than 20 buses and they started to come out on the river err … road. And then the traffic just stopped moving. I was still lucky that every 20 minutes we would crawl a meter (and I am not exaggerating). The traffic towards Delhi was just standing still. And the rain kept hitting the windscreen of my car with such a force! I had to keep the windows closed, switch the engine off (as we were not going anywhere and petrol is expensive) and it felt quite claustrophobic.
One hour later, I was still sitting on the same stretch of the road. Usually when massive rains occur I leave office around 8.00 pm. I called home and told them that it looks like I would reach sometime after 8.00 only, as the traffic is just not moving.
One and a half hour later I crossed the ‘big consultancy’ office road and across the turn, the river got even bigger. A lot of people where ditching there stationary office cabs and just walked through knee deep water. The factory workers were also wading through the water, sometimes with their bicycles. I took solace from the fact that as none of the other small cars have stopped, my Maruti 800 would also hold! When a group of people or motorcyclists would cross together, I could feel the water hitting the floor of my car, and it gave a sensation that I was sitting in a boat!
Thankfully the rain lessened after a while and I could roll the windows down. After crawling for another 20 meters, a gentleman (a foreigner too, by the look of him) going in the opposite direction in a big SUV asked me, “Excuse me have you seen the blockage, what is it?” I told him, “No I have not seen the blockage, but I have not seen a single car moving even an inch for the past one and a half hours in your direction”. He said, “Well, I have been sitting here for an hour myself, at least in your direction the traffic is moving.” My reply was, “You call this moving? In one and a half hours I have just moved beyond those huge office blocks.” He told me there was even more water ahead in my direction! After a while my side traffic crawled another inch or so and our conversation ended.
He was right about the water, on the stretch ahead there was even more water but thankfully the car didn’t stop. Struggling for some more time, I finally managed to take the turn towards my residential area. The traffic was moving normally here.
At 7.30 in the evening, two and a half hours later I had left, I managed to reach home, covering a distance of 8 kilometers! And it was a pity I didn’t had my small camera with me yesterday or surely to pass the time, I would have clicked a few pictures and posted it here.
I have to say one thing, Maruti Suzuki makes decent boats err… cars.
And Happy Independence Day!