Skylab is falling

I was in Larsen and Toubro. Lived in Andheri and went by 7.24 train (some times earlier by 7.16 train) to VT to then took a bus or walked to Nariman Point. Bakhtawar building where my office was located was next to grand Oberai Hotel, with its swimming pool on the seventh floor, watchable from the place I used to sit in my office.

One day came the news that Skylab, a communications satellite was malfunctioning, and was supposed to fall back to earth and Bombay (those days known as Bombay) fell in it projected trajectory.

The office remained open. But most didn’t show up for work. There were about 10 people who showed up for work that day.

The streets were empty. The local train used to be so packed that from Andheri I used to get a spot to hold the train. And whole body used to be outside, even on rainy days. On first class coach. Second class was not different.

That day the train was almost empty. Just a handful of passengers, people like me,. I changed my seat 3-4 times to get a “better” seat.

In the office the canteen was open. Ate something there. Drank some tea. On normal days our secretary Peggy used to normally join, tea used to be served in teapots and was good for two.

My boss, a young IIT + IIM Ahmedabad guy, had planned a business trip to somewhere far from Bombay. When I told him that chance of Skylab falling on him in Bombay was extremely low, he replied it was low, but not zero. He couldn’t take the risk. So he was not there.

There was no work. So after the meal I decided to leave. L and T was known for the food they gave. Nariman Point office was tolerable. Powai works was fantastic. When I was doing practical training at Powai works, I used to go there just for the lunch. There was a VP there, he used to go to the restrooms around 11:59 AM, and used to drag out engineers there telling them not to use the toilets during work hours and wait for 1 minute to get their lunch break and could use them.I guess he used to wonder who I was, coming just for lunch. I never game him the chance to ask me.

So that day I came back home (in Andheri one room shared by three of us, rs. 180 a month) and passed the day uneventful. Heard that people were doing pujas and traditional Indian things to avoid evil spirits.

Next day read that Skylab, a tiny satellite weighing a few kilogram fell somewhere in ocean near Australia? Wish could take selfies to show you all a virtually empty Bombay.

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