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Chai, shelter, Netflix: #RainHosts, religious places turn saviours in Mumbai

Heartwarming stories of how people sprung into action to help those stranded by Mumbai rains.

mumbai Updated: Aug 30, 2017 11:23 IST
Rain Hosts,Mumbai Carpool,Mumbai weather
People tow a van through a flooded road in Andheri in Mumbai, India. , on Tuesday, August 29, 2017. (Shashi S Kashyap/ HT PHOTO)

#RainHosts and #MumbaiCarPool were trending on Twitter on Tuesday, as people opened up their homes and offered to share their cars to help those stranded in the downpour.

Social media swung into action to help those stranded in the heavy downpour. People tweeted with the hashtag #RainHosts to offer their homes, including tea, snacks and in some cases, towels and even Netflix. The #MumbaiCarPool hashtag trended too, as those stuck in the rains tried to help each other.

The hashtag got a tremendous response, and someone stepped into create a document including all the details.

Jain temples, Sikh gurudwaras, Ganeshostav mandals and housing societies invited people in to rest, have a meal, pick up drinking water or take some comfort in a hot cup of tea.

About 1,000 people reportedly responded to the WhatsApp messages from the GSB Sarvajanik Ganeshotsava Samiti in Wadala, saying it was offering hot food and water.

“After we got the news of traffic blocks and train services coming to a halt, we immediately made arrangements to feed up to 5,000 people,” says mandal member Subhash Pai. “We knew a lot of people would be stuck in low-lying Dadar, Sion and King’s Circle and also invited them to come to the mandal for shelter.”

Gurudwaras in the city opened their doors to those stranded and prepared their langars or community kitchens to help.

“We have about 75 volunteers stationed at areas with major waterlogging — Dadar, Lalbaug and Parel, to let people know there is help nearby. We found out in the evening about two buses of school children stuck near Sion hospital since the afternoon, so we headed there to provide food and water,” said Manpreet Singh, who is spearheading the relief operation.

The Jain Mahajan Trust guest house in Masjid Bunder offered free food and accommodation, spreading word via WhatsApp. About 250 people took shelter there.

“During the 26/7 deluge too we had helped people. We are doing the same this time,” said Bhavesh Gangar, a member.

At the Lalbaugcha Raja Ganesh mandal, darshan also included offers of food, water and shelter. “About 2,000 volunteers and myself are spread out in the areas around the pandal to spread the word,” says mandal president Balasaheb Kamble.

Management consultant Gaurav Bagaria was one of the many citizens who opened their doors to strangers caught in the deluge.

“This time, it’s been much easier to reach out and extend a helping hand, because of social media,” he says. “Otherwise, nothing has changed since 26/7. The mess is the same. The government apathy is the same.”

First Published: Aug 30, 2017 09:54 IST