01 December when the nightmare began, we were reaching Chennai after a Darshan in Tirupati. Brushing aside the regular metrological warnings by Meterologist Ramanan we took the rain to be a casual affair. When we tried to cross Thiruvallur, the Kosasthalai river had overflowed the bridge and we were diverted. What was to be a two and half hour journey from Tirupathi to Chennai, we ended up arriving 20 hours later still unable to reach our Home at Nanganallur. That was when we understood the severity of the calamity. After staying in the road atop the Kathipara flyover for around 2 hours, we were lucky to have traffic opened towards Adyar to reach a relative’s home. We later realised the calamity and how close we escaped it.
With the opening of the Chembarambakkam reservoir, several major areas of south Chennai were inundated. Within hours of the havoc good Samaritans gathered resources on their own and without even awaiting government’s response commenced relief work. What started in a small way soon caught up with the city, that helped each other and eventually triggered the entire state and the world to look back at Chennai’s grit and relief poured in from all corners. An efficient bureaucracy helped coordinate the relief measures by directing them to the most needed areas.
With a fortnight gone now, tackling the mounted debris has been a humoungous task. The efficient government machinery has helped preventing any outbreak of diseases. Rehabilitating the huts that were washed away are on top priority. Measures to recover the lands adjoining the river are of utmost importance now to prevent a calamity of such a scale in the future. Unpredictable climate and global warming are threatening our fragile ecological balance.
Adayar that was once used for transportation was reduced to nothing less than sewage. Nature has washed away our mistakes and it is now upto us to not to commit the same again.
Yes Chennai you deserve a big Salaam and a pat on the back for reinstating that humanity exists. Now time to roll up sleeves to clean the city and maintain it.