Thursday, December 31, 2015

Bahubali


No.  I do not write movie reviews on my blog.
This is yet another real life incident, just that, it was larger than anything that I have seen thus far in life.
But before that, as usual the abandoning of my blog space was not intentional.  Just a result of my utter laziness measuring the size of a dinosaur.  A few posts are in draft version still and never saw the light of their day.  Let me not cry over unwritten posts now.

2nd December 2015 began unusually with many wake up calls in many forms.  I had few calls from my neighbors and lots of noise in the street at 1 am in the midnight.  My neighbors are such lovely people they never do anything crazy like that without a reason.  The call that I picked was that of Priscilla and she informed me about an uninvited guest to our street, the flood waters in Chennai due to heavy rains and opening of Chemparampakkam lake.

It had been a relentlessly rainy day on 1st of December, sheets of water hitting Chennai continuously for more than 24 hours without a break since morning and added to it,  there was no electricity  and we had slept early. After Priscilla’s call, we woke up to a lot of confusion and I just managed to see the water glisten in our street in the darkness from our balcony.  Told J lets quickly move – he gave me that super confident look and said “ No way. The water will not get in to our house”.  That question stoked the wickedness of a typical wife and I gave him the coldest look on a really dark night and asked him, Why? Is the water scared of you?  The Husband in him got the message.
We first took my Mother in law who cannot walk to the first floor and set her up in Dennu’s room. By then the water had touched our Car park and J swung into action.  We moved all our stuff to a 3 feet level carefully balancing everything on top of each other and by around 3.00 am the first drop of water showed its ugly face through the front door.
Panicking, I ran to the altar and told Jesus, I do not deserve any mercy ( I really meant it), but do take care of all of us.  I was sure that water would get in.  Then the water started slowly coming in from both sides,  the kitchen door and the front door. Slowly, Steadily.  Rising to a feet inside the house within an hour.  While moving our stuff to a higher plane I realized it is not going to work as the water would  rise more than we ever imagined. .  I looked at the water now in the hall, bedroom and kitchen  and thought  of all the times I obsessively cleaned this very same floor. I was getting disoriented.
By around 4.30 we had more than 2 and half feet of water inside the house.  And we realized the wooden stuff on which we balanced our stuff was beginning to wobble.  I told J a couple of things then.  The water level is going to rise beyond our expectation.  We need to be prepared for the worst.  J changed his game plan and told Dennu and me to help him take stuff up to the first floor and the rooftop in the second floor.
So, there we were, J taking careful steps in the  water, actually dragging his feet so that he would not slip, ( a marbonite tile and water could be a slippery combo ) and the remaining 3 of us, Dennu, our maid and myself, playing passing the parcel, in the middle of the night, with worried faces.  J was totally in control, instructing us where the stuff should go.
Another hour and the water was at his chest and the fridge began to wobble under the frame of Chest of draws.  That’s when he announced the unthinkable.  I am taking the fridge up.  I honestly thought he was joking. A 265 litre double door fridge bigger than him.  I gave him a very scared look, ( by now I was really worried) and said, J we do not need the fridge.  Let it go.  Your back is more important.
He gave me a huge smile and said, I know your idea.  You have been planning for a new fridge for a long time.  That is not going to happen.  I am bringing this up.  Now I knew this man meant business.  J was calling Dennu, who was as scared as me, if not more, telling J, Pa lets leave the fridge down.  Let it go.
J sternly asked both of us to shut up and just listen to him.  He went on to give ridiculous lessons in physics to Dennu.   This is what he said, Den, look at the inclination of our balustrade, if the fridge gets into the same inclination, and if it can rest on my back with a little push from you, on its behind, we both can get this one up.  Dennu looked so doubtful.  J wasn’t even noticing that.  He secured the fridge with a good rope and he bent down and asked Dennu to get it on his back in the right inclination.  My baby was quivering, yet he just listened.  I saw Joe’s every muscle tremble under the damn weight, the fridge on his back and I was genuinely worried about him. Closing my eyes for a while, hands on my chest and when I opened my eyes, the fridge was in the first floor. I couldn’t bear to see that sight.
Bright red marks on Joe’s hand is a reminder of what he did.  He looked at all of us and said lets sleep now.  By then the water must have risen to 5 and a half feet.  When I looked into the hall that resembled a pool of dirty water, I couldn’t believe this was happening to me. J asked us to get back into our rooms, and sleep. My safest place in the world was threatening me beyond belief. Restless, petrified, sleep evaded all of us.    Heard J waking up, but I didn’t move. I must have dosed for a while.  Woke up within an hour to the lights outside just to realize that the water level had gone up to 8 feet inside the house.  It kept rising very slowly now.
J asked me to come to the rooftop where our swing used to be and I saw a nice kitchen set up.  He got some more stuff from the kitchen, while all of us dosed, removed all other electronic and electrical items, including the water purifiers, my glass paintings  and managed to salvage most of the stuff from the ground floor. I was still reeling at the mental image of J carrying that damn fridge. Unbelievable.
After 20 plus years of marriage, there is always a tinge of contempt, purely bred through familiarity, with your spouse.  That night, I found a new respect for this man.  A man with a strong spine ( literally), completely oriented during adversity,  and most of all, a great role model for Dennu.  My Bahubali. Equally proud of my little Bahubali in the making. J
P.S:
  • Our uninvited guest was with us exactly for a day and left without a trace, only after creating enough damage all around.
  • We didn’t opt for evacuation as we could manage pretty well at home, though we struggled without power. 
  • The flooding had taken away the livelihoods of many people and unimaginable loss to loads of people in Chennai.
  • I am still running the kitchen from the second floor.  Waiting for the ground floor walls to dry up so that we can paint and disinfect the walls.  In spite all the salvaging, we had to throw away a lot of stuff. 
  • The water rose up to 10 feet within our house, missing our first floor roof by a feet or so.  We have to clean every square mm of our house and its frustrating.
  • Having said all this, I am thankful to be alive. I also realize calamities end up being great levelers.
moments more for a new beginning and whole new year to start, I used this space finally after so many months to let go of my worst nightmare of the year.  Let us all,

Surender to what is,
let go of what was, and
have faith in what will be.
New year is on the way.

I wish you all Joy, Love, Laughter and lots of happy moments and memories in the year 2016. God bless.

8 comments:

  1. Oh God ; you faced it real bad. It wasn't so bad in some parts of Chennai - you seem to have had the worst. What an awful time all of Chennai has had.

    J's a total star. As is the young master.

    Best wishes for the New Year Vincy. Wishing you and your family all the happiness in the new year.

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    1. Yes you are Right Ramesh. My Parents who stay in Chennai were safe during the floods. Even their compound did not have any water, by Gods grace.
      Since i have seen the deluge and devastation first hand, feel so traumatised and sorry for Chennai. Love Chennai's spirit more than ever now.
      Thank you for the wishes Ramesh. Wishing you and family a fantastic new year again.

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  2. oopss..i can understand how scared people would have been..homes are not just places of stay..they are sanctuaries of security..apdi irukara edathula ipdilam aana it definitely scars for a while...but dnt worry..sun is back in all its glory :) 2016 is going to be awesome

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    Replies
    1. Yes Gils. Looking forward to the awesomatic 2016.

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  3. ?? kenara kaanum vadivelu maathiri..en commenta kaanum!!!

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    Replies
    1. Just like during the floods, enga ground floor'e kaanum ;-) :-) :-)

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  4. really scary Vincy...glad you all are safe and sound and really a Bahubali deed indeed....

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    1. Yes Semma. It was a nightmarish experience. And yes as you said, the most important fact was all of us are safe.

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would love to see reader reactions. Comments, muaah's, likes and opinions accepted. :-)