Chennai, a city I love and grew up in. The city that forms my identity. One would assume everything was normal on December 2nd. Rains lashed the ‘hot city’ that many people hate visiting because of the harsh sun. Friends in Bangalore used to tease me about my city because of the weather. Hell broke loose when rumours (which turned out to be true) that Chembarambakkam reservoir was going to open its sluice gates and the entire city is going to be flooded. Pardon my ignorance but until that day I had no idea what the lake was and if it even existed in Chennai.
Stocking up on supplies I was busy responding to messages from concerned friends across the country stating that I am safe, holed up in my house. And then, like Day after Tomorrow film, everything started going kaput. Power was gone, the sound of water gushing across the streets started filling the arid silence across the streets, and in essence, the entire city shut down.
With the little network I had, I tried sharing helpful information for others, without knowing that my own relative was trapped in nandanam. I scampered to try and rescue him but in vain as roads were cordoned off by the police. “Boat irundha dhaan ma poga mudiyum,” was the response I got from an indifferent police officer.
Two days of frantically trying to reach the army and navy helplines left us frustrated and hassled. Finally my relative turned up at our doorstep. A muslim neighbour had rescued them with the help of a boat and had provided food for two days. Humanity was alive.
We then engaged in cooking for people who have lost their homes and were in dire need of rescue material and food. We supplied clothes to the needy. A lady who does our ironing came home helpless as she had lost her house. We gave her everything she needs to restart her life and opened up our homes.
These Chennai floods have taught the residents a couple of things:
- In times of crisis, a person near you will always be there to help you. Chennai da!
- Social media is not only to curate your social status but also for providing essential information for survival
- Chennai people have big hearts and will save the city in spite of a major natural/manmade disaster when even the Government goes incommunicado
- Our first world problems took a backseat and made us realize the importance and value of Maslow’s physiological and safety needs
- National media will continue to treat Chennai as a outside land and we need to survive with our 1-1 communication in times of crisis
- RJ Balaji and Siddarth should stand for elections! Never has any effort been so heartfelt so please do your bit for their initiative
Calling it a day. So proud to be a Chennaiite.