The past four days had been very turbulent for me. The place where I was born was engulfed by floods owing to multiple cyclones. As a matter of fact, parts of it are still under water. It’s a sad thing to watch the place you’ve always been proud of gradually sinking under water and mud. One of the biggest cities in the country with a population of over 4.6 million, not one expected Chennai to suffer like it had suffered.
Chennai has always been more of a cosmopolitan city than a metropolitan one. It has in it a population that consists of people from all races, all places, and all religions living happily together as one. It’s referred to as the place for anyone or everyone irrespective of whom or what they are. I guess that’s why a lot of people felt connected to it and felt motivated to go help those in need there. From my part, I know a good number of people there and in my last visit to Chennai, I felt connected to the city.
A lot of people called it a manmade disaster. I cannot agree more. Chennai, as a city is devoid of rains. Rains in Chennai are once in a blue moon and what happened this time was totally unexpected and unprepared for. Rains like this ravage Mumbai every year but the city is up and running in less than two days. That shows exactly how unprepared the city was. A very poor drainage system, a poor disaster response system and a very slow government is what Chennai suffered from. The mistake lies not just with the government but with the people as well. One of the most prominent private hospitals in the city had such a bad power backup plan that in two days 18 patients died due to inadequate power supply and negligence by the staffs of the hospital.
Pretty soon the usual blame game would start and most of the sane population would get tired and would let go of the matter finding that to be the only viable solution.
‘Chennai sinks and humanity rises’ read the caption in one of the prominent news channel in the country. I got infuriated looking at it. God knows what a resident of Chennai would’ve felt. And the Chennai sinking part is not the literal meaning which most people would assume it to be. Chennai doesn’t live in the tall sky scrapers or the fancy restaurants and malls. Chennai lives in the local trains and the mile long beaches. Chennai is humanity. Chennai is tolerance. Chennai is a place with open hands for anyone who wants to come in. The spirit of Chennai lies in the different people living there. It lies in the love and affection they share for each other just because they are from the same city.
Chennai is hope. Chennai is love. Chennai is home for the 4.6 million people living there not because they can’t live anywhere else but because they fell in love with the city and simply don’t want to live anywhere else.
These are the words of a non-resident of Chennai. Just imagine what a person living there would say.
I can’t get myself to end this post without saying just how grateful I’m for all of those people who came from far and near, who worked from far and near to help those in Chennai who suffered due to the floods. With a population that’s twice as big as the entire army of the country, the help from every one of those helped to speed the process of recovery up by a notch which made a huge difference.
May God bless Chennai.