Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Fact or Fiction

16th May 2005

Heavy, non stop rains through out Chennai for over a week. Dams are almost overflowing. District collector announced the flood warning in less than 24 hours. All arrangements were made to evacuate the low lying area once found dangerous.

16th May 2005
6:00 PM

“Ambi, listened to the news right? Floods in Chennai!!!” exclaimed Pankajam in course smile.
“A very big joke” I replied with my mouth filled with pan.
“These people never guess anything right. Can you ever imagine floods in Chennai?”
“Hey come on! We can see floods only in TV”, this time with my mouth wide open.

8:00 PM
“Ambi… Switch on the TV da Ambi, lets check if we have any update on the floods in Chennai”, called Pankajam.
I switched on the TV.
News Read:
“Schools, Colleges, Government Offices will be remained closed tomorrow.
Government requests the public to remain calm. All arrangements are made to evacuate the area where flood is expected.
Please do take a note on the Emergency help lines…”

9:00 PM
“Maami, seems like Chennai is going to face floods tomorrow”, came running the neighbor, Ramani.
“Yes… yes”, exclaimed Pankajam, “You believe Chennai to be flood ridden?”
“I could not dream also maami. Ok fine, tune to Sun TV, last week Saroja left us crying. Time for Metti Oli”

17th May 2005
6:00 AM

Orders flew to the people from Municipality. People from municipality rode on jeeps announcing the danger of floods fast approaching.
“Dam is broken and water has entered city.
Buses are at the end of every street in the west direction.
Please evacuate at the earliest”

I came out rubbing my eyes. I am still sleeping.
I found Pankajam busy in kitchen cooking on one side. On the other I can feel the sound of the water entering the streets.

“500 meters from here”, was the running commentary from municipality people.
I ran inside, informed Pankajam about this.
Pankajam’s face turned pale.
She went into Ramani’s home immediately and told this.

“Get into the buses, its almost 300 meters from here”, speakers in the jeep spoke.
I took enough care that no one in the street or at least none of my close neighbors are left.
“Ramani, Pankajam, Ramu, the old man, people in opposite house. All were informed.”

“100 meters”, screamed speakers.
We all joined hands. I cannot forget this experience in my life ever.
I found water passing the third house to my left.

Water at 20 meters from here!
I with all my neighbors came running to the street with the vessels, drums and huge cans to fill water.

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