It is THAT time of the year, when the entire north India embraces the cold winds and dewy mornings while the lone state of Tamil Nadu receives a little respite from the heat. Let me give you a quick background of TN’s weather, it’s Hot, Hotter and Hottest!! So last year, for a period of more or less a month, it rained cats and dogs everyday. Initially the cooling temperatures seemed to relieve us. However, on particular days like around Diwali and then the week lasting from 1st to 5th December was a time very different for the people of Chennai.
It was a period of long-lasting downpour and a complete shutdown of the civic amenities in the city – albeit electricity out for 5 straight days, water supplies off to various parts of the city, overflowing water from lakes, ponds and a cyclonic state of the beaches. Yes, Chennai – the city which gets pitiful rainfall annually – was flooded completely and so were almost all towns of TN.
Now, one year after, there are so many things one could recollect about the entire situation plus introspect on the same, considering the current Cyclone Nada alert.
It’s wrong to say that what hasn’t happened ever can never happen
The month between Diwali and that dreadful first week of December 2015 saw many intermittent incidences of rains, but the one that broke all records lasted a record 26 hours during which 272 mm rain had hit the coastal city. Chennai, on the 1st of December, 2015 had received the highest rainfall in its history.
The city seemed like an ancient village with too many buildings
A complete shutdown of the whole city meant that banks and offices had no electricity. Reputed IT and ITES organizations transferred some of their employees stuck in Chennai to their offices in other cities like Bangalore or Hyderabad. Some offices asked their employees to work from home as commuting was not possible. All that was noticeable was high-rise buildings all around swooned over with darkness.
Only cash payments were possible
Now here comes a reminder for Mr. Narendra Modi, with this bold move of #demonetization, I sincerely hope you have saved up some mind-blowing strategy for THE RAINY DAYS, literally. Guess what, with no banks operational at the time and no electricity for almost a week, ATMs were non-functional and so were the debit card payment systems. Not to forget, we couldn’t charge our phones and internet was off limits!
Real-time social networking took place
It was like living in another era, devoid of mobile phones and switched off from all channels of connectivity. The only communication that happened was with one’s neighbors and you got lucky, you could use a landline phone! It seems crazy to imagine right? But that is what really happened, devices were off and actual conversations happened! Being able to call someone on the morning of 5th felt like ecstasy!
The number of rescuers was greater than the number of victims
The emergency situation that existed in that period did receive help from the Indian Navy, Indian Air Force, startup organizations like Amazon and Flipkart and from various film actors too (read Shah Rukh Khan). Even Ola boats were rolled out to rescue the city dwellers, but what was strikingly new was that the youth of Chennai turned rescuer and helped evacuate millions stuck in flooded homes, buildings and damaged areas.
This became an incident when humanity triumphed over all kinds of discrimination as well-placed MNC employees, instead of getting back to office, physically massively participated in the rescue operations all over the city.