In pictures: the deafening silence of Mumbai during lockdown

In pictures: the deafening silence of Mumbai during lockdown

In pictures: the deafening silence of Mumbai during covid lockdown 30 stades

Mumbai is the city of dreams that never sleeps. Its overcrowded local trains, platforms and stations have been central to many Bollywood blockbusters. Many heroes have metamorphosed from kid to adult while running after the famous kaali-peeli (black and yellow) taxis. Migrants from across India come here with dreams as the city welcomes them heartily. Its iconic landmarks – Gateway of India, Asiatic Library, Chowpatty and Marine Drive are always full of people.

At 3am also you will find a taxi to take you home. And after watching the movie ‘1.40 ki last local‘, people across India know that Mumbai doesn’t sleep. 


But all this changed when the Coronavirus lockdown was imposed in March this year. Migrants walked back home. Mumbai’s local trains were stopped. And there were jokes that the trains will finally get the rest they need as they have been in service almost non-stop for decades.

Those in slums suffered due to lack of food and income as workplaces were shut. The streets, where it is almost impossible to find parking for a car, were deserted for months together. No rush, no jostling and no hurry for catching the next local. Mumbai almost went into a coma – alive but not kicking. 

It was at this time that Mumbai’s photographers stepped out to click the city as they have never seen it before – deserted and abandoned. Even pigeons and street dogs, which abound the roads, went into hiding as there were no hands to feed them. The deafening silence of the megalopolis has been captured by photographer Umesh Goswami through his pics: 

Deserted Marine Drive, the 3.6-kilometre-long Promenade, at the northern end of which is the famous Chowpatty. Pic: Umesh Goswami
The Bombay Stock Exchange, where fortunes are made and destroyed every day. Pic: Umesh Goswami

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The Asiatic Library, Bollywood’s favourite shooting place for every court scene, is actually a library. Its stairs are mostly dotted by students but empty here. Pic: Umesh Goswami
(Left) The headquarters of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, India’s richest municipal body, and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (right) — where lakhs of people arrive daily with dreams of making it big. Pic: Umesh Goswami

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Meera Road Railway Station, where a sea of humanity emerges with every train arrival and dissipates soon after its departure. Devoid of activity here. Pic: Umesh Goswami
The Oval Maidan, where many a cricket superstars have practiced and continue to practice. Barring rains, this ground is never devoid of action. Pic: Umesh Goswami

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The Taj Mahal and Palace Hotel withstood the 26/11 attacks. The city’s brave photographers continued to click pictures as firing continued inside. But with lockdown descended a silence here too. Pic: Umesh Goswami
Empty station and local trains wait for commuters to return. Their identity is linked to the passengers they carry across Mumbai each day. Pic: Umesh Goswami

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Skyscrapers stare at the empty roads. Traffic jam are an essential part of Mumbai life. Pic: Umesh Goswami
Over 90 personnel of Mumbai Police have so far lost lives due to COVID-19 but the force has continued to work relentlessly for ensuring the well being of citizens. Pic: Umesh Goswami

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COVID warriors — the city’s doctors, paramedics and other public service staff has been at the forefront during the pandemic. Pic: Umesh Goswami
Extensive testing facilities are being provided to check COVID-19. Pic: Umesh Goswami

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Many migrants had to leave Mumbai due to the shutdown and lack of income. Pic: Umesh Goswami
Travellers wearing PPEs outside the airport. Pic: Umesh Goswami

(Umesh Goswami is a Mumbai-based photographer with 28 years of experience. He has worked with almost all major media houses in India and has photographed some of the world’s biggest corporate leaders as well as Bollywood stars.)

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7 thoughts on “In pictures: the deafening silence of Mumbai during lockdown

  1. Devesh Kumar Yadav says:

    First I appreciate Mumbai and Mumbaikars for their effort to fight this Pandemic and hats off to Umesh Goswami Ji for his work 😊 to show us the visuals .

  2. Vandana Kakar says:

    Once upon a time in Mumbai – captured so beautifully by Umesh Goswami. The silence in the pictures speak a thousand words.

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