Rainbows after a storm – Chennai floods

It has been ages since I wrote a column. Tonight it feels irresistible to pour out the myriad thoughts as my birth place is flooded.

Certain experiences outgrow one’s perspective on life. This, for sure, is one of them.

The last few days had little or no telecommunication – no calls, SMS, whatsapp & social media. A metropolitan city had turned into an island.

Listening to radio channels was the only source of news. Thanks to smartphone, there is no more radio on mobile. Thanks to our battered cars which provided us with charged up mobile and news on radio. People who lost contact with their families were trying to reach out. People who sought relief from strangers were trying to inform their whereabouts. And then there were others who were helping people help themselves by sharing helpline numbers. If the helplines could manage it was something that remains unclear, considering the feedback from people who were sending out distress signals.

The radio jockeys for sure did a thankless job, much appreciated. There were a whole bunch of people spreading optimism by being able to see that silver lining in the storm. And then there were a few complaining of no electricity and no groceries. Realisation & preparation for lack of supply is needed. Whining on it however felt irrelevant given the intensity of the situation.

And then there was television media. In the brief time that I had access to it, I watched a private channel flashing news of how it helped rescue people. A journalist was holding a microphone on one hand, facing the camera and on the other hand holding the victim’s hand. In a moment, thankfully, I lost the electricity supply. For the first time, I felt less regret on missing out to become a media person, once a childhood dream.

There were also rescue teams and the philanthropic public offering support, food and water. Is there ever going to be a way to return the gratitude? I’m afraid not.

Have your ever helped a stranger on road? I, for one, have never done any form of it in person. Spent my earnings in charity, yes. Today it dawned on me that there is no help like stepping out and lending a hand. Lending money dawned to be the cheapest deed of my life. Proudly, in this need of the hour, strangers have helped each other in ways one wouldn’t have imagined. Providing food, clothing & shelter to unknown rekindles the sense of humanity. For the first time in this city, it felt safe to keep the doors open.

It also brought about a sense of equality. Nature is the only factor on earth that treats everyone on the same footage. It was a nail on the head as the airport was flooded and unavailable for service, but it brought about a sense of equality of all social-economic classes.

I haven’t been able to reach my parents but a friend lent a hand to check out the status on that area. Today when I check out on Facebook, it turns that there were several people offering this help to friends and strangers who were not able to reach families. Although it feels terribly guilty to not be there in person for my parents, it feels good that someone somewhere is willing to help.

There have been several times one searches for a purpose of life. This calamity for sure brought about a sense of my purpose in life. Earning the month’s salary, buying the 3bhk house and ‘settling’ down in life is not even close to the definition of purpose.

Live and liven up!

Salute to everyone who had the courage to help! You are the treasures of mankind, helping people see the rainbow after a storm.

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