Last week was my first week in Chennai. I came here for work. My current accommodation around 30 kms away from my office, yet I preferred it that way, for I would be going back home to see some known and warm faces, always eager to welcome me.
30th the Monday went by as usual. The work environment a little different, I had all my concentration of the environment within the company and hardly noticed the continuous lashing of rains. I was all cozy travelling up and down in the company shuttle.
1st the Tuesday, heavy rains continued hitting most parts of the state. Schools and colleges were on leave due to heavy rain, but I continued with my work and went to the office despite the downpour,for my shuttle would be there to pick me and drop me safely. I hardly could see anything for the window of my bus but I thought like any other rain it would recede by the evening.
I was in a shock when I reached an hour late than usual and was welcomed by a pool of muddy water which was ankle level in the office . Slowly it took just a few hours, the water started to enter towers one by one. I was still calm. I had heard the weather forecast, seen the floods on television, but the floods were just virtual and in the past, and I am supposed to be an engineer I could just go home somehow, god, I was so sure. I started trying to book a taxi from all available operators,alas, no cabs available, but I was still sure some cab will turn up in the next few hours, how stupid I was.
After all the fruitless efforts, when I stepped out of the office, I could just see people running with umbrellas and the once dry foot path was now filled with water deep. My company was about to drop its employees before the actual time due to heavy rains, and I was stranded there away from my team, with my umbrella leaking and phone ringing whose battery was about to die in a place less known.
My concerned team somehow found me and lectured me like I was a small kid lost in the woods. But in fact I was glad they found me.
There was this next step that jolted me and made me realize how grave the situation was. I was to make an alternate arrangement, all I had in mind was to reach home and help people on the way.
I purchased few biscuit packets and withdrew some cash and came out of the tech park, it was the first time I realized how terrible the roads were, the usual fuzzy me never bothered about the level of the water but just kept on walking to the bus stop, that’s when I realized the true meaning of desperate times calls for desperate measures. By now the usual ten minutes route had taken me a good thirty minutes and I was dripping wet.
I struggled, waited but did not let mine or my relatives anguish take over, by the time I reached home, my battery was almost dead, my food supplies and water distributed among the hungry people in the bus stop and the bus. How I wished I had purchased some more.
I left in the noon and reached at night to the place I called home, easing the worries of my family, friends and relatives. But then, this experience changed me as a person, there were thousands of people like me and my family and friends,waiting for food and relief.
The city, where there are tons of victims, they turned into saviors. I did my part, I wish to be anonymous and not brag about the little help I could do.
I had already seen how the volunteers were doing their part and yesterday had an opportunity to see the Tamilnadu government in action, with IAS officers, revenue officers and commissioner. There are no Chief minster photo on the relief packets, and their plans seem to be effective. No, I am not praising them, I know they are late, but there are many more who need help.
I know there is a lot of politics and less of selflessness but the people are more important than all the dirty politics and the stupid questions by the media.
I have clicked a lot of pictures of the nightmare, but that’s for me to remind myself time and again that there’s nothing above the laws of nature ,how dangerous we are to ourselves and most importantly to tell me daily how fragile life is and how daily we waste our precious time in unnecessary things. And I am sure most of you would have seen enough pictures of the devastation here.
I start this month by the post on Chennai rains but more of an introspection for all those of us who are safe. For those who are helping out there, I salute you, for those who are unsafe, I am praying daily and doing the small things I am able to do.