Category Archives: The World Outside

Chennai Floods – How it was there and how it felt from here!

The past week had been horrendous as the “Detroit of India” faced the most dangerous and unexpected torrential rains – Yes, the Chennai Floods. The rains that might break a 100-year record as the highest amount received so far!

I’m sitting here, in Hyderabad, writing this post,  with an immense sense of relief knowing that my loved ones are safe and out of any unforeseeable danger.

Having been born and brought up in Chennai and witnessed all the best and bad moments all these 25 years, this has been the worst of them all, including and especially the Tsunami. Those who are from Chennai or are in Chennai now, will whole-heartedly agree with me on this.

Oct-Dec is Chennai’s usual North-East monsoon season or the retreating South-West monsoon (as commonly called), which gives abundant showers that suffices the crop cultivation for the next year, cools down the excessive temperature it had witnessed the past months and brings genuine joy to its inhabitants. I have experienced all such monsoons – waded through dangerously pot-hole-opened streets, played in those waters, eaten ice-creams, read novels with a steaming mug of coffee by the bedside or the veranda (which I absolutely love doing till date!), walked the roads with friends and just admired the beauty Chennai emanates, smelt the rain-soaked earth and I cannot even begin to explain the joy and fun I have had all through my school and college days, which I wont do now because its going to take up the whole post and moot the actual point.

Since early November, light to moderate showers had started as per seasonal schedule and as usual, Chennai was prepared. Or at least she thought so. But Nature apparently felt extremely bored and loved to test her “Tolerance” level this year but lost considerably to Chennai’s ever-existent resilience and people power. By people power, I really and honestly mean ONLY people power and not the Government. But last week, November 30th, something strange happened. It started raining weird. By weird, I mean the light flooding of the main arterial roads like GT Road, high level roads and strong windy showers. By evening, Bay of Bengal saw sudden depression and the coasts started flooding.

chennai floods 1

We thought it was going to look like another Tsunami, but thankfully it was not. But hey, it wasn’t good either. By Monday night, if I’m not wrong, the city suddenly plunged into darkness. Assuming it was the usual power cuts that occurs, people were still prepared waiting for it to come back in the middle of the night. They woke up to Tuesday morning with no power and an addition – to street floods. Simultaneously, line-by-line, power went out starting from the main city to deepest of villages, disconnecting the entire State from outside world, till yesterday evening when certain areas started to receive them depending on the intensity of the water draining.

I cannot give you first-hand experience of the rain because, fortunately or unfortunately, I was not there. But from what I saw in the News, I can tell you this – it was absolutely horrifying!. Water level started increasing to dangerous levels and people ran out of food and out of their houses. Low-level houses were completely submerged, cars overturned or stacked one on top of the other and even stuck in one of the many opened pot-holes making the main roads completely inaccessible. Bikes, buses, trains and even flights, for crying out loud, became mere objects of no use. The Chennai Airport became flooded, which was the main thing that shocked me. Water started seeping into the Airport’s waiting lounges from the flooded runways, which was apparently constructed on top of a water body. By Tuesday evening/early Wednesday morning, things became worse – ​bridges and dams gave way due to over flooding beyond its retention capacity causing water to seep into the mainland sparing not even a single road in the entire State; even highways connecting Chennai to southern districts.

Boats emerged with the Indian Navy manning them and soon, Ola, Uber and NTL got their boats and started rescuing stranded people from their homes to relief centers. Food and basic necessities started diminishing at an alarming rate by Tuesday midnight and people, literally had nothing to eat, drink or wear drier clothes. Chennai felt helpless and now to top it all, it was named a “Disaster Zone” due to no fault of it.

But to the relief of all, the youngsters started taking matters into their own hands. Volunteers emerged; the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) came as a blessing to the civilians. Army officials started pouring into the city, spreading themselves all across the State to start rescue operations immediately before something else happens. Social Media – especially Facebook and Twitter saw a boom in SOS cries. News Channels like India Today began calling Ministers on their phones who, apparently had other “pressing” issues. There was still no power and now, the telephones and ATM joined them. All mobile phone signals and landlines were gone and ATMs stopped chugging out cash and transport was possible only by foot.

The skies suddenly saw choppers all over rescuing people ranging from pregnant women, disabled elders, school children, and even pets. Food started draining out. Vegetable markets were completely under water. Price of basic commodities sky-rocketed. And the water, was still coming in making the State, look like an island from an Aerial view.

Something had to be done and the Govt still were in another world. Wednesday evening saw theaters and shopping malls open to public despite the flooding, providing shelter to everyone that needed them. Relief materials like food packets, biscuits, water bottles, medicines, dry clothes, toothbrushes, tooth pastes, soaps, towels, rice, wheat, vegetables, fruits, milk and even some cash was donated by people from other states, even from NRIs abroad. Students even started cooking meals for three times a day, all by themselves. RJs and Actors took to the road and started managing end-to-end of sending all these materials to the affected by keeping track of Social media requests, suggestions, phone numbers, addresses, etc. Some of my friends even took the pain to visit their other abroad friends’ family by foot to check on them. One of the best, were the collated information of details in the form of Google docs that made life a little easier.

Thursday and Friday still saw no luck on the power front but Social Media were still covering everything, that Indian Media should have. Facebook saw students from all over the world trying desperately to get in touch with their elderly parents, their friends and to know the level of water stagnation in their respective areas. Flights were cancelled. Railway tracks looked like another lake. Corporate companies saw water inside their buildings.There were more people seen on terraces than inside their houses or streets. It was a depressing sight. Truly.

But Chennai managed to get back up despite all this with the power of its people, the humanity that still prevails and of course, full support from its own who are helpless in other parts of the world. Though not fully restored to normalcy obviously, but it is at least limping its way towards it. I can assure and reassure myself that Chennai could withstand anything and everything that Nature throws at us, even without a single support from the Govt.

Friday evening blessed the city with power in most areas helping me to finally talk to my mum and friends which was relieving to a great extent but the first hand encounters they told me on how they faced the rains and flood, were truly scary.

On a more lighter and a happier note, this was what the Army officials had to say after all the work they had done  – “Chennai is the only place where we saw more volunteers than victims!” – A Proud moment for us!

Indian Army

So, what did this teach us?

This and only this.

“Humanity Wins Over Everything Else.”

Until later! 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under The World Outside

The Unheard Language.

Want to invite someone over? You pick up the phone and call them and you hear them.
Want something to eat? You go to the kitchen and ask your mom to prepare something for you and you hear her.
Want to stop your brother from hitting you? You go shout at him. He shouts back at you and you can hear it as well.

It’s very easy isn’t it? You being able to listen to what the other person is trying to tell you.

Now, what about the people who wake up every morning just to realize over and over again that they can’t hear anything at all?
What is it like for them?
They desperately want to hear someone wish them “Good Morning,sweets!” but all you can see is someone moving their lips.

I was at a major bus terminus called Majestic Bus Stand here in Bangalore, restlessly waiting for my bus home. It was pretty late in the evening and my hunger pangs were getting the better of me. To top it all, it was raining.

I was listening to some soothing piano musical pieces in my phone that was an add-on to the rain when I saw 2 college/high school students – a guy sitting on a bench in the platform and a girl his age standing in front of him. Both of them were waving their hands aggressively towards each other and their lips also moved occasionally.

I knew what kind of people they were but I didn’t know what they were talking about. I plugged out my earphones to observe them. Amidst the din in the bus stand, it was pretty pleasant to see two people converse with each other in such a delicate manner.

sign1

What I observed..
1. There was no sign of ‘evident’ negative emotions on their faces (anger, frustration, irritation, etc)
2. Quick and subtle hand movements could be seen, rapidly and quickly acknowledged by the other.
3. Expressions played magic on their faces and their lips making what they wanted to convey much easier (for them).
4. Silence could speak much more than we intend to.
5. Emotions and feelings were expressed much more easily and if hurt, could be bounced back to normal by genuine expressions saying “I’m really sorry” or “I really love you” using hands and eyes. Especially eyes.

Both of them found it easier to understand each other when their mouth was not doing the primary job of talking. All kinds of emotions were put to work without any kind of bias or cynicism. Normal people like us would do anything to hurt the opponent through words and putting them in an even worse position for having to listen to us (the other way round is also possible), but this is something I wish could happen to me. Happy, sad, angry, questioning, doubt, day, night, please, excuse me, sorry.. You tell me. Everything is said with the help of the 10 fingers and all the facial muscles. This is what I really call as’Expression speaks’

The last 2 days, I had found quite a lot of people this way and I feel this as a much better way to converse genuinely to one another. I found it pleasing and soft in the inside.

Until later! 🙂

Cheers!

Leave a comment

Filed under The World Outside

Everything looks different, yet same…

The next stage of life. No. Not marriage. Studies again! A more professional kind of study..

Its a new city. Not much for me exactly but the environment and ambience is different. Away from friends. Yes that’s one thing that was so not expected. The comfort life I lived in with them. Being with them and laughing my stomach out. Sleepovers. Oh! How much I miss that! I used to tell my friends how independent I try to be but when reality hits me, it hits real hard. Like a sound knock on my head telling, “WAKE UP! You’ve got real things to do and achieve!”

Honestly speaking, I have been in a trance all these days in my UG. I just went along where the track lead me. Once in awhile, I go that extra mile to do something I really wanted but it never turned out the way i wanted it to be. It never does, does it ?!

Its different here (I’m in bangalore for my PG) yet just the same. Friends are different but they behave the same. Happenings are different but the results are same. Before I came here, as usual, I imagined (might have done a tad too much – always do) that things are going to go easy. That I would change how I was before into how I want to be. Now, its taking a shape. 🙂 Maybe irregular, but a shape.

So far things are going really good, I should say. 🙂 I’m getting so much exposure I never thought I would get. So many new friends and fun with each other and I’m trying to take the first step of destroying my comfort zone. I have trouble making friends (real ones, I mean) but as the saying goes, You have to jump into the river to learn to swim. I have jumped into the river of discomfort to get comfortable, swimming.

Getting to know people through various situations is just plain amazing! Yeah, I still don’t know how to react to it outwardly (I still have no idea when I’m going to learn it) but its fun. Motivational speeches always go into one ear and out through the other but now, it stays. Or rather, I make it stay. It still lingers inside me and I have made it a point to actually follow it.

Things to do before I die…

Loved this particular concept in the movie “Anjaana Anjaani” and it actually stuck to me. But in the past two days I have learnt the greatest importance of this in an individual’s life. Who really has time to write those goals/things you want to achieve in a piece of paper ? I did. And reading all those makes me want to try achieving that before I leave. Of the many, I have few very realistic and close-to-my-heart dreams that probably deserves taking shape and I want to be there and see it when it happens. Everybody started doing that because the race has already started.

There’s a small line of difference between wanting to do something and dreaming of doing something. That difference is what’s going to show you who you are. 🙂

You have to be put under discomfort, to get comfortable” – Someone said.

 

Image Image

See u later 🙂

 

3 Comments

Filed under The World Outside

Comfort zone.. I cannot entirely leave you..

Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new. -Brian Tracy.

Try something new… something that always gives a jittery feeling. Everybody thinks, ‘Why would I wanna do that ?’,’What do I get from it ?’,’Why should I try something new ? Its already there.’ These are common questions that always end up with no answers whatsoever.

Everybody goes though this tough phase. Trying out something new is one thing no one is willing to do possibly out of fear what others might think of us. Yes. Its like trying to be in another person’s shoes well knowing that you will not fit in. Moving out of one’s comfort zone is like getting out of ur cozy bed to sit up and study for the semesters. 😛

But this is where I feel one learns almost about everything life is willing to teach us. How to take it is what is left to us. We’re ruled by habits. We tend to do the same old stuff over and over again because we are comfortable. I just came across this article,rather a story of a young Cecilia Aragon.

 

Shy and fearful as a kid, Cecilia Aragon was 11 when she learned to bicycle, and when she climbed a ladder, her fear of heights made her break into a sweat. “What I kind of realized was that if I was going to do anything, I had to expand my comfort zone pretty dramatically. I started doing that,” says Aragon, whose fear-smashing breakthrough came as a grad student when she rode in a four-seater Piper Archer plane and a friend handed her the controls. She marveled as she steered the plane (with the friend’s help) over the Golden Gate Bridge and California coast—and upon their landing, she signed up for pilot classes. “I was in heaven.”

Despite her 5-foot-2 frame requiring a booster seat in typical planes, she became an aerobatic pilot so good at low-altitude loops and spins that she won trophies and competed in the World Aerobatic Championships. “I feel the fear; it’s just that I use it. I use it to make my flying sharper rather than paralyze me.”

A bonus side effect: Completing her doctorate and applying for a university academic position didn’t seem scary compared to flying headlong toward the ground and potentially ending up in a fireball. She went on to work for NASA and heads the Scientific Collaboration and Creativity Lab at the University of Washington.

A rather short one but at least inspiring. Small inspirations end up making a big difference,probably the biggest,in a person’s life. Personally,its something I can definitely try following. Well,try at least. (note to self).

But its our wish. You don’t feel comfortable in your new shoes,then fine. Go get another one. Get not the one that fits you but the one that is flexible. It is difficult but its going to be easier farther down the road. We have nothing to lose. Maybe a little pride but at the end,its always worth it. Because,

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. 

Try it. You’ll love it. 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under The World Outside