Another sad story about ONGC colony at Panvel. Hordes of big rats are roaming fearlessly in the ground floor flats. They are so big that even dogs and cats do not dare to challenge them. One day we saw in our car some pieces of paper and few pieces of a pipe. We became suspicious but remained complacent. Next day, I was flabbergasted to see the smithereens of papers lying scatter on the floor of car. It happened that the rat’s teeth were so sharp that it might eat the whole car in few days. It has cut a rubber stopper in the panel separating the inner part from engine and gone inside where it cut a hole through the dashboard material and entered the small housing where you keep your papers. It then attacked the papers.
Next day when my son opened the chest of scooty, a big rat was sitting inside. It had cut the plastic and made a big hole to enter. I thought that at this rate, these rats will bring down the building because they have already made enough holes on the ground. They roam in the day time without give any dime to the people moving around. They will then eat away cars and scooters, cycles and lastly they will attack the denizens of the colony. No one is doing anything to contain them.
Peculiar things happened with me as I made preparations for leaving Sibsagar on my transfer back to Mumbai.
A few days prior to my planned departure, the weather became very hot and humid as it becomes there during summer days. But on the day of my journey to airport at Dibrugarh, it began to rain and rained so much that it became a deluge. Without any respite, the rain was falling in solid sheets. Visibility became very poor. My flight was canceled on the scheduled day despite the fact that our luggage was boarded and boarding passes were issued. Such a thing never happened to me in my three years sojourn in Assam. My flight never got canceled and I made it to airport even on the days of ULFA bandh. It seemed that there were some scores remaining unsettled, as if I owed something to others and others to me, as if someone was waiting for me to see me and fulfill the unfulfilled desires. My colleagues advised me to stay put at some hotel for next day journey but I returned back. Luckily, one of my colleagues brought back the key of the house which I had surrendered that very day. I changed my flight altogether for next day.
Next day flight again arrived one hour late and I began to have doubts again. At last it took off for Guwahati on its way to Kolkata. On my adjacent seats-I was on window seat-were sitting two very pretty young girls who incidentally happened to belong to same place I was coming from and their parents worked in same company as I. They were going to Chennai, but worried about missing their connecting flight from Kolkata to Chennai due to delay in this flight. It turned out that they were having non-refundable tickets of different airlines. If everything went on time from Kolkata not only would they miss the flight but also lose the money. I tried to help them and luckily at Kolkata when they were waiting for luggage, inquiry at help counter of the airlines revealed that the flight as usual was delayed for one hour.
But I made to Kolkata with no hurry as my connecting flight to Mumbai was late in the evening with enough time remaining. Flight to Mumbai also was delayed and reached at midnight. My real nightmare started when I hired a taxi from outside. There is a great racket going on at Mumbai airport. Some taxi driver and accompanying person will board the taxi with you and take a just outside the airport where number of taxis are waiting. He will charge money from you as they pretend it be prepaid taxi and will ask you to shift to some waiting taxi and will give the driver very vague instructions about the destination and give him some share. After traveling about half the distance, the driver will ask for the spot where the passenger will drop but he will give the name of place nearby. As you will protest that I have to go to where I have to, he will say that the fellow who transferred you in my cab told me to drop you elsewhere and for going further he will again demand some more money. Really, Mumbai is going to dogs, it will go bust. It is the city whose cycle of decline has really well started. It has become a old vamp. Name any kind of maladies-physical as well as mental- you will find them in Mumbai.
Best of luck for this dying city. My lungs choked on pollution as I sucked so many pollutants in two hours as I have done in Assam in 3 years.