I have read about articles about natural calamities across the globe. While my heart went out to those, never did I think I would witness one and go through one myself.
I come from the beautiful city of Chennai. I was born, brought up, studied and I work here. The city and the most parts of the state faced unprecedented rains over the last 2 weeks with extreme heavy rains last week. The city was flooded. I must say I was one of the lucky few whose house wasn’t washed away. And I am really thankful for that. But to say the least our driver whose house is less than a km away found his house in ruins in a matter of hours. He came home rushing in the early hours of Thursday with a few of his neighbours seeking shelter. This was the state in the center of the city. The outer areas and places near the river were hit very bad with water entering even 1st floor in many cases.
While water didn’t enter my house, I was stuck. With hip deep water running like a river in areas all around my house, it wasn’t easy to leave. And with phone lines and mobile network down it was hard to reach anyone outside. But within my area I saw how people helped each other. A young boy from the next street asked if he could park his bike outside our house as water was gushing through his street. He returned some time later with 2 packets of milk without us even asking for anything. He waded through the water to get us the milk. That’s when we noticed, without even realizing it we had started helping each other. Neighbours offered water where there was shortage of water. Those who had signal offered their phones so that we can reach our loved ones. Houses were opened and tiny families turned into big gatherings. The same happened all across the city. People helped each other. All barriers broke. Our city maybe submerged but we rose. It didn’t matter if you were rich or poor, or what religion you followed, we moved as one. So many volunteers offered to help. Whether it was cooking food for those stuck inside their house, collecting necessities or sourcing funds. Social media played a big role. Whether it was in gathering volunteers or seeking help or offering help. Even with the limited connectivity social media likes of Facebook and Twitter helped connect millions. I’m not going to share images of the damage here, it’s all over the internet. But I do have one request, help in whatever way you can. The rains may have stopped, but it will be a while before the damages are reversed. Even spreading the news will benefit us.
At the end of the day it didn’t matter who we were, or what language we spoke, all that mattered was the kindness in our hearts that we had for each other. I would like to thank each and everyone who helped rise this city up.
It’s not the place or the infrastructure that makes a city great, it’s the people. This is my city. This is my home. This is my Chennai.
#welovechennai image source: Facebook | I <3 Chennai. Image Source: Artist Six, Dribble.com