Friday, December 4, 2015

Chennai rains- My Story

I had taken Wednesday off to take my in laws for a check up to CMC Vellore for a Medical Checkup, the weather was cloudy and slightly drizzling but since it was not a heavy rain, I thought of taking the Muduchur bypass, which was almost a grave mistake with water level on the road almost 2-3 feet level or upto the thighs, but with fast acceleration and a bit of luck, we had passed through the water logged road.  After successfully finishing the checkup, near Sriperambudur, there was a heavy jam on the road, we were caught up in a very long traffic jam where in we sat out for about 2-3 hours, later we came to know that the road was almost 6 feet deep and there would be no way to pass through, luckily for us, again, there were some volunteers who braved the rain and convinced the big vehicles like Trucks and Bus to make way to the side so that a few of us with small vehicles could turn around and be on our way towards Chennai. As we shared a single lane with the incoming traffic, the road was narrow and the driving was rash, and I got a small dent on the car but I guess that was a small price to pay for safety. After calling up our friends inside the city, we were informed that the road to our house would not be accessible at all as it was flooded all around. We started stopping at all the inns and Hotels on the way but none of them could accommodate us as all the rooms were full. After searching for rooms from 12:00 am onwards, we finally found a hotel room in the city around 3:00 AM, probably all the train and flight cancellations played a big role in all the hotel rooms being full, also many people whose house were flooded probably camped out in Hotels. The next day we decided that we some how must reach to our children, there were not auto’s around and the auto’s that were there charged an exorbitant rate. I walked about 5 km from the Hotel in Nungambakkam to Kotturpuram Bridge, I was able to get into the Bridge but there was a very fast flowing current which made it all but impossible to cross at that point, not wanting to give up, I again walked 4 km Saidapeth bridge as people said there was a chance of crossing it, but Saidapeth bridge and the surrounding area was completed flooded making it all but impossible to cross the river by walking or by vehicle. Then it hit upon me that I had not tried the MRTS train from Beach to Velachery, so I had another very long 6km hike from Saidapeth to Mylapore where I finally arrived in Thirmaliya railway station. I was already willing to walk on the elevated railway tracks, but luckily for me, the train was operating and I was able to reach Velachery without much of a problem. The view of the mighty adyar river flowing under the bridge was a sight to behold, the river was overflowing it’s banks and had flooded many of the houses on the banks. Once I reached Velachery, I thought it would be a cakewalk to reach home as it is not more than 6 kms even by walk from there.

The sight I saw in velachery blew my mind,  the flyover between the railway station and the flyover near Kamakshi hospital was filled with water atleast 4 feet all over, and it was already around 5 dusk,  the water was cold, the weather cloudy and the rains drizzling, I reluctantly stepped into the water and made my way, sometimes walking on the median which was a bit higher. I could hear dogs howling in pain and in fear on top of vehicles and cars. There were very few of us going towards the flood prone area whereas a majority of the people were moving towards the railway station to avoid the flood, I could see some families camped out in the railway station with bedding and cooking stoves when I had left the station.  It was painful to see small children prodded by their parents made to sit on blown tyre tubes moving towards the city, frightful adult women fearfully walking on the water above their waist tightly holding their husband and loved ones, some carrying their dogs. Most of them had a rucksack or a backpack where they probably packed their money, cred, debit card, phone, charger and maybe just a few change of clothes. And yes, the flood water had over flown many vehicles and two petrol bunks on the way, the water was basically a mixture of petrol, diesel, drainage water all around which was not a pleasant sight. I was just hoping I do not step into some snake or some carless person lights up a cigarette and drops it into the water. The water near Kamakshi Hospital was a bit deeper, hence I Held out my hand so that my watch, wallet and phone were not wet. After a long days track, I was dragging my feet the last 2-3 kilometres home and was happy and thankful that my home was dry and most of all to see the happy faces of my children welcoming me home.