Amid heavy rain, Mumbai returns to strange normality

Amid heavy rain, Mumbai returns to strange normality

Locals rely on Twitter, Google for information after Wednesday's deadly blasts. Monsoon rain is the only thing that stalls traffic
Wednesday's attacks on India's commercial capital were the first since the 2008 assault by Islamist militants.

Mumbai returned quickly to a strange sense of normality on Thursday, less than 12 hours after triple blasts hit the city late Wednesday, leaving dozens dead and many more injured.

More on CNN: Read the latest news on the Mumbai blasts

Heavy monsoonal rain overnight and all day Thursday posed the only practical impediment to residents.

At a live press conference in Mumbai early Thursday, Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram said Mumbai and Mumbaikars “responded splendidly” in evacuating the injured and assisting police.

“Children are going to school, people are going back to work … this is the resolute response that one expects from Mumbai.” 

“Mumbai has always lived up to that high expectation,” the minister added.

Residents look to Twitter, Google

Twitter handles for news channels and senior journalists such as Barkha Dutt, Prem Panicker and Suhasini Haider received heavy traffic.

Hash tags #mumbaiblasts and #here2help were also part of citizen outreach on Twitter.

Help websites also rapidly appeared, as well as a Google Docs spreadsheet that the Huffington Post described as the “World’s Most Moving Spreadsheet.”

This online help sheet for #mumbaiblasts now has 125-plus options for those needing doctors, accommodations, transport or even plane tickets.  

Schools open, transport 'normal'

According to major newspaper MidDay's Twitter feed, the deputy director for schools in Mumbai has said all schools will be open today.

Tweets from Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport said there was no impact on flights, though travelers were advised to check with airlines for information on specific flights.

Last night, Mumbai police asked residents to stay off roads so that emergency aid could reach the blast sites, though no restrictions are yet in place.

A taxi union plan to stop cabs running at midnight last night -- the taxi union said cabs are often the first targets of police nakabandis, or checkpoints, after such incidents -- was called off before midnight. Taxis plied Mumbai as normal.

Trains are running, but reportedly less full than usual. 

Traffic jams on Thursday were blamed on the heavy rain rather than the bombings.

Some businesses and individuals reported Internet problems, which were also blamed on the rain.

Mumbai spirit

“The fifteenth terror attack in the nation's financial capital since the 1993 serial blasts is unlikely to unnerve stock investors,” said the Economic Times.

“Thanks to the resilience of the business community and developments in technology, investors have learnt to take successive attacks on the city in their stride,” the paper stated. 

But not all Mumbaikars were flush with a sense of the city's so-called "spirit," with yesterday’s blasts adding to a lengthy list of terrorism strikes in the city. 

One of yesterday’s blasts ripped through Zaveri Bazaar, a wholesale market where terrorists planted bombs in 1993 and 2003.

Another of the blast sites was Dadar, near a train station used by millions of commuters, where in July 2006 a series of seven explosions killed at least 174 commuters.

Added to these events in the Mumbai psyche are traumatic memories of the 26/11 terror attacks on South Mumbai hotels and its main train station. 

“One more tweet or post on the 'spirit of Mumbai' and I'm going to smash something. We don't need no BOMBay,” tweeted Naveen Bachwani.

Apart from help and service information on Twitter, the network also carried serious concerns from Mumbai's residents.

“We seem to be at home with terror incidents. Is that a good thing?” asked Shrey Goyal.

Sita Wadhwani is CNNGo City Editor in Mumbai.


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