Sunday afternoon. At the Bandra-Worli sealink.It had all the hustle and bustle of a picnic spot. And there was chaos and confusion. With shades of fun and excitement.
A clique of collegians trekked in a single file from Mahim, singing songs as bumper-to-bumper traffic clogged the Mahim Causeway.
Chennai resident C Rajan, who was in the city on work and was staying in Jogeshwari, was among outstation visitors. “I just wanted to experience the ride,” said Rajan who had hired a cab.
In the seemingly unending queue of vehicles, families sat huddled in cars. Fatigued tourist bus drivers waited for the vehicles in front to inch ahead.
The north-bound traffic extended till Worli naka. The south-bound traffic stretched up to Kherwadi in Bandra (E), going up to Santacruz flyover until late night.
On the last day for a toll-free ride, lakhs thronged the Bandra-Worli sealink for a joyride. By evening, the official turnout was over 2 lakh, the traffic police said.
Out there on the streets, onlookers huddled around watching in amazement.
Not just sight-seeing, there was business to be done too as groups of rag-tag boys milled about selling books, drinking water, wafers and other knick-knacks.
Like Waheed(10) and Rais (8), slumdwellers from Mahim, who were selling books at the Bandra end of the sea link. “Our seth (boss) sent us to take advantage of the heavy traffic to sell books,” Waheed prattled as his companion Rais croaked, beckoning people to buy his magazines.
“As it’s a Sunday, we anticipated the heavy turnout on the last day of the toll-free ride,” Joint Commissioner of Police (traffic) Sanjay Bharve told Hindustan Times.
Barring minor vehicular collision and resultant pow-wows between motorists, no major eventuality was reported.
The policemen on ground zero were, however, on tenterhooks.
“I shudder to think what could happen if a mishap occurs here now,” said constable Vinod Devkanth (48) who was posted near a tollbooth.
He quickly shook his head, as if flicking aside the thought and started clearing the crowd of watchers.
This irked the public gathered there.
Jogeshwari resident Samir Shaikh (30) who was not aware that bicycles were not allowed on the sealink was livid.
“First they did not let me ride my bicycle on the bridge, now they do not even let me stand here and watch,” Shaikh complained to nobody in particular.