By Arré Bench Aug. 10, 2020
As Mumbai battled non-stop rains last week, 50-year-old Kanta Maruti Kalan, a pavement dweller from the city, stood next to an open manhole for seven hours warning passers-by about it. Her house was washed away in the floods but that did not stop her.
Last week, Mumbai witnessed the heaviest rains the city has seen in over a decade. As record-breaking amounts of rainfall battered the city, people stepped up to look out for one another where infrastructure failed. The “Spirit of Mumbai” is often brought up whenever the city faces a negative situation, and while it might be commonly talked about, witnessing it in action is truly special. One such woman embodied this spirit during last week’s floods, as she stood in the pouring rain for hours at a stretch warning pedestrians and vehicles away from an open manhole in the middle of the street.
This video is from Tulsi Pipe Road in Matunga West, Mumbai. The lady seen in the video had been standing beside the open manhole for five hours to warn commuters driving on the road.
VC: Bhayander Gudipadva Utsav pic.twitter.com/FadyH175mY
— The Better India (@thebetterindia) August 7, 2020
Kanta Maruti Kalan is a pavement-dweller who lives with her two school-going daughters on the footpath along Tulsi Pipe Road in Matunga West. The area, next to train tracks, is prone to flooding, and true to form, became waterlogged last week. When civic authorities did not arrive to address the problem, Kalan took matters into her own hands by opening the manhole to let the floodwaters drain away. However, aware of the dangers the open manhole posed to the lives of passersby, she then remained at the spot for seven hours in the pouring rain, warning people away from the hazardous opening.
Kanta Maruti Kalan put social responsibility over her house and belongings. She stood for hours in the rain to warn people about a manhole in Matunga, Mumbai 💓💓
Video: @MumbaiMirror#mumbaifloods #womenpower pic.twitter.com/bgonke65gb
— Swati Subhedar (@swatiSubhedar) August 10, 2020
Kalan’s actions won her viral fame on the internet, after a video shot by a resident of Tulsi Pipe Road hit the internet, with commenters lauding her selflessness. Unfortunately, even as Kalan was performing her good deed, the floodwaters washed away her tent from the footpath as well as the ₹10,000 she had saved up for her daughters’ education. Mumbai Mirror featured Kalan on their front page, and have also included bank details for those readers who wish to contribute aid to this city hero in their report.
— Mumbai Mirror (@MumbaiMirror) August 10, 2020
The “Spirit of Mumbai” is an abstract concept, but if it had a face, it would look a lot like Kanta Maruti Kallan’s.