While most revellers in the city have plans to go out and party on New Year’s Eve, there are some who have decided never to venture out of the house on the night of December 31. These are members of the unlucky tribe of Mumbaiites who have spent at least one New Year’s Eve stuck in a traffic jam at midnight.
“I brought in 2010 by staring at the bumpers of buses and cars on a crowded road, so I am happy to just stay at home and watch movies this year,” said Ravi Pandey, 25, a call centre employee who was stuck in a BEST bus at Bhayander while on his way to a beach shack party in Gorai last year.
When they hopped on to the bus at Bhayander station at 11.30 pm, Pandey and his group of 20 friends thought it would be a 15-minute ride.
“It took an hour instead, and the only highlight of the wait was getting the other passengers of the bus to join us for a midnight countdown,” said Pandey, a Malad resident. For Mitali Vijayakar and her family friends, last year’s New Year party was killed by the smoke of hundreds of trucks stuck with their car in an eight-hour jam on the Western Express Highway.
“It was supposed to be a house party in Palghar, but all we could do was watch movies on our cell phones and walk around between trucks to stretch our legs,” said the 22-year-old medical student from Bandra. Her family has decided never to leave the city for New Year’s, and will have a quiet celebration at home this year.
Juhu resident N. Talreja’s family had their stuck-in-traffic escapade four years ago, but they have unable to forget the “excruciating” experience.
The group of 12, packed in two cars, took an hour and a half to cover the five-minute distance from their home to Hotel Tulip Star, where they had a dinner table waiting.
“My 75-year-old mother-in-law couldn’t walk the distance, so we had no option but to park the car and wait for the chaotic jam to clear,” said Talreja, 56, an airline station manager.