Motormen strike: How Mumbaikars translated a nightmare into a holiday

The famous `Mumbai spirit` came handy once again last night as railway motormen struck work and left the lakhs of commuters in lurch.

Mumbai: The famous `Mumbai spirit` came
handy once again last night as railway motormen struck work
and left the lakhs of commuters in lurch.

By seven-ish in the evening trains had almost stopped
plying. Those who boarded the locals hoping that they would
chug out, instead had to face a sweltering and a sweating

"It was extremely mean on the part of motormen as they
worked in the first half and allowed the people to reach their
destinations. This compounded the problem as they struck work
big time in the evening only to leave the same swathes of
commuters stranded at all suburban stations in the mega
polis," said Vikram Deshmukh, an exasperated commuter.

Anxious family members kept calling each other to
keep themselves posted about the whereabouts of the near and
dear ones.

In no time, Mumbai was going mad venting anger and
abuses at the striking rail staff. But are not the gusty
Mumbaikars known for their never-say-die attitude...the famous
Mumbai spirit, which helps it spring back to its feet and life
braving all odds and adversities?

Rains, strikes or deluge, long live the Mumbai
spirit! So how could they be cowed down by just not being
ferried back to their destinations?

People of the city awake 24X7 believe in
work-hard-and-party-harder mantra. This unheralded, mandatory
holiday of sorts provided one such occasion.

It proved to be a blessing in disguise for those who
otherwise have to slog it out round-the-clock. Mumbaikars took
to merriment with a vengeance.

Movie theatres, pubs, hotels, clubs, did a brisk
business as they were unusually choc-a-bloc with stranded
commuters who were left with no where to go and had to take
refuge in these places.

Those who could afford and decided to take a cab back
home, were caught in the snarl traffic moving at snail`s pace.

The roads were busting to its seams due to crippled
train services. Even BEST had pressed in its entire fleet to
abate the commuters woes.

Unwittingly it also added some! People adopted the
mode of transport they could lay their hands on.

While some hitched a ride, other over enthusiasts
climbed trucks, tippers, tempos to travel.

Taxi and auto rickshaw drivers had a field day
charging the desperate-to-reach-home Mumbaikars, extra.

While some office-goers were held back at their
workplaces... blessed few were invited by their caring
colleagues and friends to their places.

Lovelorns found it romantic to roam through the
lovely empty South Mumbai roads culminating their strolls or
rides at the Marine Drive only to be shooed away vigilant cops
a few minutes later.

"We all colleagues too had a gala time... Got a lot
of time to spend together and bond. Our hectic schedules
scarcely provide us with such an opportunity," said Ashfaque
Khan, who translated this otherwise nightmare into a dream
after being hit by the motormen strike.