by Gautam Pemmaraju
Last month, while on my way to 7 Bungalows, a neighbourhood in Bombay’s northern suburb of Andheri, I stuck my head out of the rickshaw as we were momentarily caught up in traffic at Juhu Beach. Just a week earlier, on June 12th, a large merchant ship, charmingly named MV Wisdom, had run aground. A faint drizzle nimbly animated the monsoon skies and I wiped my glasses clean on my T-Shirt to look out at the enormous ship and the several people gathered on the beach. They ate chaat and ice creams and gawked at the derelict, wretched old vessel, none the wiser to its impending fate. The unmanned giant was being tugged from Colombo to a ship-breaking yard on the coast of Gujarat. Its demise was imminent.
News reports mentioned that the vessel had inadvertently broken free from its grim escort, and as it set adrift in the then perturbed waters and inclement weather, it narrowly missed colliding into the Bandra-Worli Sea Link bridge – Bombay’s latest showpiece. It however remained fortuitously adrift enough to not rudely bump into the city’s latest public display of inept governance and poor planning, but instead lumbered on to the iconic Juhu Chowpatty, with what one can imagine to be, ponderous fatigue corroded over many seafaring years, and a groan like none other.
These were the scenes to be seen: