It was a scene straight out of the Hollywood sci-fi blockbuster Transformers, - 9,000 tonnes of metal drifted dangerously close to the Juhu Chowpatty shore on June 12.
"Oh my god! What the hell is that," I gaped from a sea facing resort, where my friends and I were lounging the day this ship made its grand entrance on to Juhu Beach. Over the next few days, it comfortably docked itself opposite JW Marriott Hotel and the circus began - the mammoth 147-metre-long and 22-metre-wide MV Wisdom attracted more visitors for all over Mumbai.
The frenzy to see the vessel has disrupted the lives of the thousands of Juhu residents. The huge influx of cars to spot MV Wisdom has only proved how bad the traffic management in the area is. Cars and motorcycles over the last two weeks have been parked carelessly all along the sea front. Juhu Tara Road has remained clogged till midnight. A five-minute drive from Santacruz to Vile Parle on a regular day has stretched in to a thirty-five minute crawl.
The fascination to go and touch the ship has already caused twelve near fatal incidents. The approach to the vessel should've been cordoned off to restrict the public from going near the ship but people still continue venturing towards it like zombies hypnotised by its colossal presence. The Juhu Beach Lifeguard Association is having a hard time dealing with these incidents. They have been strictly advising the public to stay away from the vessel but little has changed.
To make things worse the crowds have littered the place. The beach has become difficult to walk on - last week I had to dodge an excited crowd and heaps of garbage including several plastic bags and a few syringes on the ground. As a result my neighbours have started skipping their regular walks. My friends who play football at the beach every weekend haven't kicked the ball in two weeks. But this isn't the first time I am seeing a ship this close to the shore. In 1997 when another ship called Zheng Dong got stuck in the rocks at Carter Road, my sister and I, fascinated, would love gaping at it during our regular walks by the shore. It was eventually dismantled and tugged away in parts because it started leaking large quantity of oil.
Thankfully the coast guard is positive that no such measure would be needed.
Our state needs 'wisdom', to control the traffic better, cordon off the area well before crowds throng it, keeping in mind the inconvenience it has caused to Juhu citizens.
So, as far as the defunct metal monster is concerned I can't wait for it to leave Mumbai.
(Shyam Dalal, 26, is a finance professional and lives in Juhu)