Cyclone Ockhi, Meet Mumbai


Cyclone Ockhi, Meet Mumbai

Illustration: Palak Bansal

Whether you’re using an iPhone, onePlus, or Samsung, chances are that you got a little weather notification about a cyclone warning while you were nursing a Satruday night hangover. After ravaging the Lakshadweep islands, Cyclone Ockhi is making its way to Maharashtra and Gujarat, and Mumbai is next in line.

Which really begs the question: Who in Mumbai has time to worry about a cyclone? This is a city that has that infamous, intangible, incalculable quality – spirit. And as we all know, the Mumbai “spirit” is responsible for overcoming riots, terrorist attacks, and floods. This same spirit is also convenient for politicians, because even if people die during a calamity, they can praise the city’s spirit, and soon enough things will go back to normal. As RR Patil infamously said, “bade bade shehron mein aisi choti choti baatein hoti rehti hai.”

Cyclone Ockhi’s impending arrival means that Mumbai’s spirit has a chance to resurface again in December, when people are usually more concerned with scoring drugs than saving lives. However, there’s nothing like a well-timed chance to be a #RainHost to awaken everyone’s inner Facebook Samaritan. Which means that the cyclone is going to be facing an army of keyboard warriors offering coffee and *ugh* conversation to anyone stuck in its clutches.

Not only will the cyclone be ineffectual in isolating its victims thanks to the #RainHosts of Mumbai, it will also lose any credibility it had as a natural disaster. No matter what high-pressure zones and tropical currents contributed to its formation, and whatever destruction it has left in its wake over the Lakshwadeep islands and South India, any impact it has in Mumbai will promptly be attributed to the lax BMC. It’s no surprise, as the average Mumbaikar thinks that the BMC is also to blame for global warming and driving the black rhino to extinction.

Cyclonic rains come with the benefit of skipping work and posting selfies with a beautiful backdrop

However, the outrage over flooded streets and crippled infrastructure is just a ruse, as everyone in Mumbai loves a good rainy day. Cyclonic rains come with the benefit of skipping work and posting selfies with a beautiful backdrop. Everyone in the city has a favourite philosophical quote, and they wait around all year for the perfectly rainy day to use it as a photo caption. The notification alert for Cyclone Ockhi was followed by a surge of messages by people checking if their friend’s terrace was free for a rainy day chill sesh.

It’s on 4th December, and everyone’s invited.