18 Aug A Journey of a Lifetime
21st July, 2021 – the day where I was going to travel to the farmhouse and celebrate my close friend’s birthday. My excitement had reached its peak and even the rains in Mumbai couldn’t ruin my mood. The farmhouse was located in Neral (a place near Matheran). I was being accompanied by 4 ( 1 boy and 3 girls ) of my close friends, our adventurous math teacher and his sweet wife. The plan was to leave for the farmhouse post lunch and reach by evening.
There was no stopping me now, I had packed my bag and tied my shoe laces as I hugged my family and bid them goodbye. All of us met at my math teachers house as a neutral location and loaded our luggage in the car. Everyone settled in the car and our road trip began. I was not in a very comfortable leg space area but it did not matter because the car ride was fun anyway. We played couple of road trip games until everyone was tired and then played some songs which caused me to sleep. I woke up as the car started to pivot from side to side on the uneven rocky road, that is when I realized that we had reached the farmhouse.
I watched the driver unload our luggage while I was stretching my sore legs. To further relax, we took a walk to the lake near the farmhouse compound. Suddenly the weather became cloudy and drizzling began, all raced to the farmhouse to keep dry. I raced with my bag to the 1st floor rooms and got cozy on the most comfortable bed in the room. I lied down on the bed and enjoyed the splitter splatter of the rain outside whilst my group started playing PHASE 10 (a card game). It was a long game and it took enough duration to complete it right before dinner time. I was again the first one to the kitchen to eat the tasty hot vada pav and missal pav (Maharashtrian food) in the monsoon season. The mouthwatering food was prepared by the caretakers. We chit chatted, teased and laughed at each other throughout the dinner time.
After the heavy dinner, we went back to the first floor to start decorating the room for the birthday girl. I started blowing air into balloons, others started preparing the banner and rest of the décor. It took us quite some time to put up the decoration in the room due to lack of resources like tape. Yet we managed to do a good job. It was time to get the cake from fridge in the kitchen on the ground floor. As I went down to get the cake along with my sir there was ankle level water jingling downstairs. When I took a glance outside, there was water everywhere and the heavy rain was not taking a break at all. Sir and I carried most of the food supplies into safety.
It became our responsibility to inform everyone and handle the situation. Everyone was feeling overwhelmed after checking out the water level from the top floor. We also tried to inform the parents but phones were out of range. Even the electricity went out due to the bad weather and generators stopped working due to the water logging. I changed the topic by reminding everyone about the time, only 10 minutes before midnight. There were smiles and laughter yet again in the room as the birthday celebration started. There were photos snapped and videos recorded as cake cutting took place. It was a delicious chocolate cheese cake which I could not stop munching on.
Though this was short lived as we heard a banging sound from the ground floor. Everyone rushed to check the situation only to get worsen. The water level had risen to the 5th level of stairs, it was halfway up (thigh length) and the banging sound was actually fridge tumbling down due to the water force. Finally, after getting some network a call was made to one of the parents about the heavy rains. They kept their calm and guided us safely.
Few minutes later, there was hustling and murmuring sounds from the roads, when I peeked through the closed windows, I saw them go to a higher ground place to keep safe. Even the caretakers of the farmhouse were a little worried as the amount of water level was increasing every few minutes. I couldn’t see everyone so tensed and overwhelmed, hence I suggested to play cards. Lights were out and hence we used our torches for visual. After the intense game of cards, I was the first one to go to bed for some sleep and hoping for some good news when I wake up. The closed windows and no fan caused a little suffocation to me so I slept without a blanket.
Couple of hours passed away and I woke up to some very soothing tune playing on the speakers outside in the balcony. The rain had finally stopped and we could see our car half inside the gushing water that was finally decreasing. As I tried to peek inside the car from the balcony, I could see numerous bottles and important documents floating above the seats. Apart from the car, I also witnessed many aquatic animals like a water snake slithering over the surface. Everything was looking good now, rains had stopped and the decreasing water level looked promising. There was finally a sigh of relief from everyone.
No matter how hard things got that day, it was a very exciting and learning experience for me. I learnt to be grateful in all the situations I face in the future, I understood how privileged I was to be safe in the house rather than walking up the rood for a higher level. It was okay to not have any electricity and feel hot sometimes to sympathies with the locals. I also experienced how important it was to stay away from digital life and detoxify from social media.
Even though my phone was low on battery with no network, there was not a single moment I wanted just sneak in my phone rather than socializing. I also learnt to be patient because good things tend to take time. Apart from me worrying, the adventurous part of me will never forget the date of this incident. The midnight games, the sound of heavy rain, the view from the balcony and obviously the delicious food will always be in my heart. I am going to cherish this memory with me for lifetime.