Sunday, December 4, 2016

Chennai Floods - December 2015

December 4, 2016

December is a very important month in my calendar for various reasons..

1.Usually, It is something that marks the completion of one successful year 

Well, that means a lot ! We would have fought a battle, would have had many memorable moments, met new people, made new friends, achieved something new and all those memories rush into my mind by December. Also this is the time of the year I set new goals for the upcoming year. I step in to the new year with a lot of positivity, hopes and dreams.

2. Two important occasions in the family - my dad's birthday and my wedding anniversary comes up in the first week of December. I never fail to celebrate the presence of both the men in my life.

3. Chennai Floods !

Last year the same time, my city Chennai was flooded. It was a huge natural disaster the city had ever faced. 

From my narrowed view, we lost power for more than 24 hrs and the telephone landlines didn't work too. We had arranged for a huge family gathering as it was Dad's 60th Birthday and we only managed to do 10% of what we planned. The photographers didn't turn up ! Only very few of the family and friends were there and another 10% reached by evening. We had to cancel the hotel party hall reservations and call each and every single person (whenever we got signals) and inform about the cancellations. I was terribly upset as I had high hopes and plans to surprise my parents on this occasion. All flights were cancelled and my sister had to stay back in the country for two more weeks. 

When the reality hit ! 

Slowly, one after the other, friends and relatives called us back to tell us why they couldn't make it. Power resumed after 2 full days and the news channels were telecasting the devastated city, Chennai ! I couldn't recognise even my neighbourhood. My personal loss was nothing when compared to what the city was going through at that moment. We were are all dumbstruck and were totally lost looking at the pathetic condition of the city.

Not very late (the very next day), people started giving out helping hands. It just started with 2-3 people and the network grew really huge within few hours. I was getting calls from people seeking food and people who were making food in bulk for the needy. When all the roads were blocked and the only way you possibly reach even the next street is by walk, these guys were picking up the bare necessities like food, water, clothing and walked in the gutter to deliver it wherever possible. 

These real life heroes include my friends, acquaintances turned friends (after the floods), school mates (whom I even failed to recognise), college mates (in the neighbouring states) and total strangers. Every single person dedicated their time and effort selflessly to help the people. Never in my life I had felt so comfortable talking to strangers around me. All I could see in their eyes were sorrow, compassion and undying spirit to gear up the city.

Some memories that I would like to register here 
  • A little girl bitten by some poisonous insect was rescued to the nearby hospital on time by a total stranger and she was saved from death ! All this while this was the kind of story I watched only in the movies !
  • A small scale businessman (volunteer) developed severe skin disease that spread all over his body, while rescuing a to-be mother at Madhuravoyal. She was stuck in her home as the roads were filled with shoulder-level dirty water. The mother and the new-born were safe at the hospital while this young chap is still dealing with the skin allergy, even after an year !!
  • A young cop at Amjikarai signal was guiding and helping female volunteers who were struggling to manage huge crowd fighting for the the food supplies. He made sure he either accompanied us to the crowded places or redirected us to the less crowded places which was much safer for the volunteers. We were glad we met a good cop in real life unlike the ones the Indian movies have majorly portrayed so far.
  • There were no rich-poor difference for once! Everyone joined hands selflessly to save lives, to feed hungry souls and help the victims in all ways possible.
  • Men and young guys without a bit of hesitation were distributing sanitary napkins, women's inner wear to all those who lost their homes and were stranded on the streets.
  • Random people (I still don't know how they got my contact number) even from Hyderabad and Bangalore were willing to transfer funds to my account to help the needy !! While I am still shocked at their gesture they apologised for not being able to be physically present at the flooded areas and help us.
  • Last but not the least, the city saw more volunteers than victims history has ever seen !!

Little did I mention here as the post is getting really lengthy. Even after one year, I am still in awe ! 

The below words made my watsapp status then ;)

"Humanity Does Exist"   

♥ Aarthi ♥

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