Sunday, September 3, 2017

In need of Shelter, Dial a Mumbaikar !


When two girls from Vashi, working for a multi-national company, stepped out of their home on the morning of 29th August to go to the western suburbs in Mumbai, they had no idea that they wouldn't be able to return home at night. It was a similar case with two boys from Pune and another from Mira Road who came to Mumbai for work. And it was none other than the reach of social media which brought these strangers together in their hour of crisis.

29th August proved to be another red-letter day for Mumbaikars, evoking memories of 26/7 when sudden floods brought the city to a halt.

It was a re-run of the calamity 12 years ago when Mumbaikars rose above their daily routines to extend a helping hand to those in distress. It wasn't only temples, churches and gurdwaras which threw open their doors to those seeking shelter, ordinary Mumbaikars circulated whatsapp messages to alert friends, and colleagues about relatives' homes where they could seek shelter or get help. Others ventured out to distribute vada Pav and water to those stranded. Some also helped by giving lifts in their vehicles as trains had stopped running. Service to humanity was clearly the need of the hour and the people of Mumbai proved that they did care.

While I was lucky enough to be at home when it poured across the city, I did whatever little I could to help those stranded. Having heard that people were stranded at many places, I posted a message on Facebook stating that anyone stranded in Goregaon West is welcome to stay at my Stay Insta serviced apartment in the area. And sure enough, we got five guests who came knocking at our serviced apartment.

Our caretakers, who are pro at providing hospitality, made sure that the guests had a warm dinner and some sound sleep. In the morning, the five grateful guests left after breakfast and some pleasant memories.

One of the guests, Ajay Sawardekar said, "Amazing! in a time of distress, people of this place get together. Love the spirit! Mumbai never dies."

And yes, while it warms our hearts when guests appreciate our hospitality, the biggest gift is when we are able to make a difference by helping those in need.