The flooded experience

I didn’t write much about my experience during the 2015 floods in Chennai. I just don’t know why. But today’s scenario around compels me to take time out to write down those moments of utter helplessness when I realized that the place I stayed was surrounded by water.

Rewind to Dec 1st, 2015. It had been raining continuously since Nov 29th or 30th. And I was oblivious to the intensity of the rain as I was busy preparing for the birthday celebration of my husband – read this post to know more about that!

On the night of Dec 1st, around 10’o clock, I heard the rain had intensified and was lashing on us without any mercy. What I saw through my balcony took my breath away! The water was gushing into our apartment through the side gates.

And specifically, to reinstate the seriousness of the issue, I want to tell you that I stayed in Velachery – one of the worst affected areas during Chennai floods 2015. Now, this apartment I was staying in was quite old; it was built around 2000. And the new buildings that happened in recent times, increased their ground level as and when the construction happened. The biggest drawback to all these scenarios is that this whole Velachery was developed over dried-up lake beds.

When I saw the water gushing into our apartment, it looked like a river that gushes out through the mountains. When hit with such force, the whole parking lot on the ground floor started filling up.

Everyone started to worry about their car which was parked. But there was little we could do when there was water everywhere around us. The cars were just let to be there, drowning in the slowly rising water levels. I am just saying…

By around 11.30pm, the power went off. Little did we know that we will get back that power only after 15 days. I am just saying…

I wished my husband exactly by midnight, gave him all those 50 wishes and made him read them all in the mobile torch, wasting precious battery charge. Not that it mattered the next day or for the next 15 days, as the service providing towers were also shut down near our area and we didn’t have any phone connectivity too. I am just saying…

Since the motors in our apartment were all submerged in the water, the maintenance people couldn’t run the motors and hence there was no water for us to use. Whatever was available in the over-head tank, we just filled in the buckets we had in our house. And that is all the water I had for use over the next 2 weeks. I am just saying…

Suddenly we realized we were marooned off inside our block, with no water to even flush the toilet. There was water everywhere around us but I wonder if I had that thing in me to and get a pail from that to flush the toilet. Phew! I am just saying…

The next day morning saw us staring at about 5ft of water in our car parking. All the cars were underwater. The apartment tried to rent motors from outside to drain out the water. But it looked like bad karma as the drained out water went one big round and came back into the apartment through the back door. It was terrifying. I am just saying…

The milkman couldn’t get the milk packets to our homes, not only the next day but for the next 15 days. I am just saying…

We were unable to go out and buy vegetables or provisions. I am just saying…

Many people suddenly found themselves without fuel to cook. I am just saying…

Others didn’t have provisions as they didn’t think that rain could bring in such havoc. I am just saying…

We couldn’t talk or communicate with my daughters and other family members that we were doing fine despite being surrounded by water. All they saw was footage on the television and they really panicked. I finally realized that if we climbed up on top of the water tank which was on the 9th floor, then there was a feeble signal. So, we climbed up, borrowed a phone from a neighbor and called my daughters to just let them know we were good. I am just saying…

My husband started helping out in his own way. Read here to know more.

The refrigerator was cleared and kept open to air it. I finally looked at my refrigerator with pride as I scrubbed it to a shine.

I found books that I had always wanted to read and spent my time reading and reflecting as the man was busy helping out people.

I played scrabble with myself.

I had a nice chat with my neighbor which we never got to do before among all the chores of the house.

We did community cooking and shared food as it helped us to avoid wastage.

I couldn’t have a bath or wash clothes or mop the house. But I survived those 2 weeks, with a minimalistic provision, no electricity, no water, no mobile phones, no TV, no candles too. I am just saying…

What I cooked that day had to be finished within the same night. I cannot carry it forward. Suddenly I reflected on those days where our grandparents lived without a refrigerator or electricity. We just took way too many things for granted! I am just saying…

If I was lucky to get a milk packet, I used it all by the night or made curd. Then the curd next day was a delicacy. Never in my life, I had felt that curd was a delicacy. I am just saying…

Those 15 days of nature-imposed quarantine taught me a lot and the foremost things are not to take anything for granted and for every drop of water I get to drink, I am grateful for it.

And Jan 2018, taught me more lessons on how I should be grateful to have this body and the life within and every moment I live should be valued by me.

I am just trying to say, we are not in the worst of the scenarios if we can just stay calm and remain indoors. I think if people could survive 15 days of nature-imposed quarantine and without any pre-stocking of provisions or vegetables, we can do this with essential goods being available to us, even in this time of quarantine.

It is all in the mind. Our human race has got more survival skills. Even with just rice and no vegetables, I was able to cook something delicious every day. We just need to trust in the process and have faith that things will turn out for the better.

JUST STAY HOME AND STAY SAFE!

12 Replies to “The flooded experience”

  1. Quite an inspiring read to remember the tough times we had gone thru during the time of floods which will make the next 21 days of self quarantine in this time of CoVid crisis an easy peasy task. This too shall pass!!!
    Emotionally boosting share…Thanks,Uma! 🤗

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you so much for writing it out(hugs)…I had similar thoughts, not because I went through something like this but cause I watched(being the watcher most of my life) my parents and grandparents do with so much less than we have now. I could not voice it for fear of sounding condescending/judging to others. Yes! we shall survive this and hopefully come out stronger than we are now.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Am glad that you also thought on similar lines…hugsss!
      Its just that we have got used to so many luxuries in life that we think we will not be able to do without it. But we can! Lets stay safe!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing… one of the best posts, I I’ve read, of late.
    A difficulty we face gives us a lot of discomfort but we figure out a way to face it and in the process we learn the best lessons of our life. Difficult times make us more optimistic, wiser, more compassionate and above all stronger.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And thank you too for taking time out to read!
      We should just let the situation teach us and move forward with whatever we have. So lets move forward in the hope of becoming more optimistic, wise, compassionate and strong 🙂

      Like

  4. What a horrendous experience this must’ve been
    I can’t even begin to imagine this scene
    With quiet, and modest, grace
    You’ve put perspective in place
    Yes, the grass this side now is definitely green!

    Liked by 1 person

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