Cyclone Vardah – Revives the Colossal Impact of those Dreadful Days
Off late, I refrain from early morning social media chats, whether it is Facebook, WhatsApp, etc., so that I do not ruin the first few fresh hours of the day. Today, it was different though. With the obligation to attend a call, I grasped that my mobile was overflowing with mammoth of messages. Most of the messages were about the Cyclone Vardah hitting the coastal areas of TamilNadu, the precautionary steps in case of flooding and a warning to stay safe and secured. In just a split of seconds, those messages recapped the colossal impact of the dreadful and devastating December month of 2015, experienced by TamilNadu.
Chennai and few other parts of TamilNadu witnessed the highest recorded rainfall. The rainfall turned into the most devastating horrific floods, in the history of TamilNadu. The monstrous flood left Chennai, the India’s fourth largest city, to a standstill, eating the lives of the hundreds of people and leaving thousands marooned unaided. The city suffered a power cut for more than four days consecutively, with zero access to basic amenities such as water, food, shelter, etc. The breakage of telephone lines and mobile and internet connections, due to the weather calamities disabled the communication the near and dear ones. A heart wrenching, haunting and miserable air of demolition, relentlessly flew in the city for weeks.
I have personally never seen any such natural calamity in the twenty seven years of life spent in the city. Living a life on the other side of the border, I was furious at the nature, fuming at myself, for not being present with my loved ones and do the needful. With constant on negative news feeds on the social media platforms, enhanced the wrath and helplessness, ruining the rationalism of the mind. Then, suddenly a group of four strangers from Bangalore joined hands to help the people of TamilNadu in every way possible. Without any second thoughts, I decided to join the group and do whatever was possible from my end.
A total of eight volunteers, from different corners of Bengaluru, joined hands and decided to collect the necessary immediate disaster relief materials such as clothes, water, packaged food, bed sheets, mats etc., from their respective location and assemble it in one common place. Later, that was collected and assimilated in one common junction, as per the size of the goods and transported to the TamilNadu state. The team was clear that monetary donations would be transferred to online bank accounts which would be further used for the procurement of the relief materials and transportation purpose.
The procuring of the commodities from the donor community and the apprehensive predisposition of the public towards transporting the disaster relief materials through cars, was a major setback in the initial stage. The plan had to be implemented immediately without any further delay. However, some wanted to the commodities to be hand-picked at their doors and a few were doubtful about the execution of the initiative to reach the needy. Juggling between the tasks of coordinating, collecting, organizing, packaging and transporting the relief materials, I felt thankful to social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp etc., to embrace our life.
To my surprise, in no time, the Bengalurueans put their best put foot forward in every way possible. Families, basic amenities shop owners, schools, colleges, corporate organizations, etc., all did their part, with the sheer thought of backing, those beached across the borders. With just one night, the house was overflowing with goods, with little place left to cross between the rooms.
There were two instances when I humbly admired the people of the city. One, when we received a truck load of goods, from the security guards of a corporate organization giving up on their day’s meal. Second, when I received a call from a person originally hailing from India, but settled in a foreign land, wanted to contribute in some way or the other. Professionally, being a doctor, he advised to distribute the basic medical kits, so that no water borne disease plagues the city. Even though we were a group of strangers and not attached to any NGO organizations, the gargantuan response to the activity strengthened our motives.
I was personally shattered to see my homeland and my folks to suffer. Later, I realized, the distance from the homeland, has enabled me to support the city in its hard times. Respect the Mother Nature is the valuable lesson learnt. Because, once Mother Nature retaliates, no precautionary or relief measure can do anything. A year after the devastating floods, people of TamilNadu may have picked up themselves and moved on. Yet, the current Cyclone Vardah, undeniably gives a hormonal gush of fear and anxiety to the nerves connected to the memories of the disaster.