It was on the night of 26 July, 2005—some 10 hours after wading through chest-high turbid waters dotted with floating cars, overturned rickshaws, bobbing buses, and the bloated carcasses of bandicoots and street dogs—that I became an active participant in the early aughts version of doomscrolling.
There were no smartphones, no high-speed internet, and no social media other than Orkut and a then-nascent Facebook. And on that fateful day, there was no mobile connectivity either. Yet, Mumbai doomscrolled. The city had gone under after receiving 944mm of rain in less than 24 hours, its highest ever. The ones who’d survived by seeking shelter or walking double-digit kilometres to their homes bathed their defeated selves in Dettol-saturated water, turned on their radios or TVs, and immersed themselves in doom.
The rains did not stop and neither did the silent gatherings over news bulletins. There was nowhere to log into, but also no way to tune out.