Mumbai: Heavy rains inundated Mumbai, leaving thousands of citizens stranded at various points in the city. Several were stuck for hours in traffic jams or in between stations in local trains. Mumbai rains brought the city to a standstill, which seems to be an annual occurrence. Though BMC had a Twitter handle, till this year it had not been activated. Since the new commissioner Praveen Pardeshi took over, the BMC’s social media team has become pro-active. Unlike Mumbai Police, which have a reputation of being unsung heroes, BMC’s social media did not hesitate from patting its own backs and within hours launched its own #RainDost campaign.
But as luck would have it, they got trolled. Amid this chaos, a few Mumbaikars turned out to be heroes for stranded citizens. They became hosts for stranded citizens and offered them accommodation, food and clothing. Several of these Good Samaritans took to social media platforms, especially Twitter, asking people stuck in rains to come to their homes. They used #MumbaiRainHosts and #RainHosts to reach out to stranded citizens. One of such hosts Sahil Sangani tweeted, "Anyone stuck in Ghatkopar east, I am just a tweet away." "Hello! If you are anywhere around Borivali (W) and stuck in #MumbaiRains then I can offer you food, shelter, wifi & furry friend company. Just a Direct Message away!" tweeted Prathamesh Bhosale. These hosts also offered food to stranded citizens. "Hope everyone's safe and cozy at home.
In case you find yourself stranded in/around AndheriEast/ Sakinaka, holler. I've recently shifted here temporarily. We can catch up over some maggi, a hot mug of tea and some old stories," tweeted a user named Farzeen Khan. Even some small firms opened doors of their offices for stranded commuters. One such firm Micro Fiction Fan Fest urged, “Dear Mumbaikars, our homes (branch offices) are open for you. If you find yourself stuck in rains (near Dadar, Wadala or Matunga), inbox us. Thank you. Stay Safe.”
Some others helped by simply spreading the word. "I was one of the last ones to tweet about the hosts. It was in line with something I had done previously, in 2017. At that time, I co-ordinated and gave information on a particularly bad rainy day,” Devang Pat, a user told The Free Press Journal.
Seeing that #RainHosts was trending, BMC soon endorsed the concept and within hours launched its own #RainDost campaign. The civic body urged citizens offering to be hosts to tweet with #RainDost in order to prepare a list of hosts and circulate it to the stranded Mumbaikars. In a tweet, the civic body said, "Heroes of Mumbai step up every time the city needs them. This monsoon, we’re setting up a ward-wise list of all #RainHosts so that we can help the city better together. All interested, may please tweet & share details at MCGMRainDost@gmail.com to be Mumbai’s #RainDost." This move received flak from netizens who slammed the civic body for the condition of the city.
A user, Sandeep Ohri, replied, "Hahaha, after taking Rs 30,000+ crores from us, BMC now also wants us to volunteer to help them! Seriously??#RainDost or #RainHosts. #HeroesofMumbai asked to come forward to help the #ZeroesofMumbai." Another user, Alok Shahapurkar tweeted, "This is the limit! This clearly shows that even BMC knows that it is not prepared to handle the rains. So they start a campaign asking people to help out. They need to understand #RainDost is for helping in cases of emergency, can't be a mitigation plan."