The staff at the Bandra Project hands out free pizzas to motorists stuck in a traffic jam in the suburb
The staff at the Bandra Project hands out free pizzas to motorists stuck in a traffic jam in the suburb

As people offered food and shelter to complete strangers through yesterday's downpour, restaurants and cafes in the city did their bit, too. Several stayed open beyond usual business hours, while a few others went out of their way to help by handing out food for free.

(From left) Richa Thakur, Isha Doshi and Shagun Shah
(From left) Richa Thakur, Isha Doshi and Shagun Shah

Despite their kitchen being shut, The Bombay Canteen in Lower Parel welcomed those in the area for piping hot tea and a game of carrom. Doolally, too, put out a PSA on social media, inviting people to wait the rains out at any of their outposts across Mumbai. Meanwhile, the staff of The Bandra Project was spotted handing out free pizzas to those stuck in traffic around their outlet in the suburb. “This is our salute to the strength of Mumbai. We are glad to be among the many that helped,” says Ramit Mittal, CEO of Gourmet Investments, which runs newly-launched space.

These gestures, however small, haven't gone unappreciated. Isha Doshi, a public relations consultant, shares that she was in Andheri West with her colleagues when the situation became clear to them around 4.30 pm. “There was no way we were making it back home anytime soon. Luckily, Hard Rock Cafe was in the same building as we were. They were shutting shop, but when they saw us, they let us in and served us,” says Isha. She adds that the staff stayed calm throughout, and even hailed autos and taxis for them when they eventually decided it was safe to leave, which was at 12.30 am.

Similarly, marketing communications professional Richa Thakur was stranded at Lodha Excelus in Mahalaxmi through the day.

She recounts how the only eatery in the building, a Coffee Bean & Tea leaf outlet, stayed open way past its closing time of 8 pm.

“I asked till what time they would be open, and their response was, 'Ma'am, till we run out of food'. And they did exactly that. The food and the coffee was being served hot, and the staff was very courteous. I'm sure even they were worried about getting home, but not once did they let it interfere with what they were doing,” says Thakur.

While flooding was not an issue in SoBo, Shagun Shah, who works in Nariman Point, shares that strong winds were preventing office-goers in the area from getting out of work safely. “I left around 8 pm, and soon enough, my umbrella broke. I ended up running to the closest restaurant, and they were happy to let me wait there,” he says.

Unfortunately, this restaurant, Spesso Gourmet Kitchen, had run out of most items by that time. “The only dish they could put together using what they had was a Jain Pizza. But I was glad to have finally found some food.”