Chennai Flood and me

I landed safe and sound in Changi Airport yesterday morning by 5am. My journey back home was only deemed complete untill I was home in my bed an hour later. I was tired -  physically and mentally. And my bed -  promised me a good deep sleep and it did. Not only me -  my boys felt the same too.

I actually has typed a summary for each of the days I spent my holidays in Chennai. But that would be a bit exhaustive. You dont need that crap. What you do need to know is that my holiday was jinxed from the moment I left home to the airport.

I left for Chennai with the boys in mid November, with trip to Taj Mahal as an added bonus. But lets just say -  instead of just being in Delhi and Agra  for the holiday -  I ended up also going to Coimbatore and Cochin and flew back home siting in an upright position for 4 hours straight.

Some of you might have known that Chennai has been seeing heavy rain since November. When we reached Chennai on the 18th Nov -  the entire road leading to our house in tiruporur was dry and dusty. No signs of heavy rains as mentioned by my relatives. And we thought they over reacted.
When it rained on the 23rd of Nov -  we happened to be in the active rain zone. And I witnessed first hand the effect of rain. I mean -  I did not get to see the aerial view of the rain of course. But I did see lots and lots of water all over the road. The water level rose, and I saw people stuck in the rain. Some vehicles moved, some didnt. The flood created a wave hitting the walls whenver the vehicles passed and that sort of got my attention. I dont think I have seen such flood in Singapore. The rain was heavy and non stop. It was sort of an avenging kind of rain -  something that was angry and you can feel it hard and pounding.

But you have to admit the resilience of the chennai people. They hardly care. Yes -  they are affected -  but they move on. Yes, they are stranded on the roads, they cant move, they cant get home from work and life is at a standstill -  but the people are resilient. They are -  in their own way -  telling the rain -  to fuck it. They will move on - the harder the rain pounds on them -  the more stronger they immerge from the depth of the flood.

But that was only one day. The roads leading back to Tiruporur was closed -  hence we spent the night at my SILs and headed back home wee hours in the morning the next day. I didnt get to see rain till the  day I left for Delhi on the 27th of Nov.

But thats when things changed for all of  us at home.

On the first day of sightseeing in Delhi -  we received news that TA's uncle passed away. As such -  TA spent the first half of the day -  arranging the logistics to fly his parents and himself out of Delhi to Madurai airport and few hours of drive from the airport to the uncle's place in Sivakasi.

I was left behind ( my choice) with the friends to continue with the sightseeing. Lets just summarise the 4 day trip as something I do not want to remember. It was not pleasant. At the end of the trip -  on 1st of Dec -  it was planned that we all will fly back to Chennai and meet up there. But it was upon reaching Delhi - TA informed me that hes been hearing news back in Chennai that rain has started again and its been flooding areas. Railways has been closed, electricty and water supplies has been cut off. I was warned of a probable flight cancellation.

True to his  words -  the flight back to chennai from Delhi was cancelled after waiting for 3hours without knowing anything. TA - in the mean time -  already took off to Chennai.

I was hoping that this delay will go away in another hour or two and they would announce everyone to board the flight -  but somewhere around 10plus at night -  we were told that our flights has been cancelled.  The next shocker came when TA called saying his flight was re routed to Trichy instead of landing in Chennai. The other shocker came in soon....Chennai Airport closed till 6th of Decemeber. We were due to fly home on the 5th.

TA immediately made some checks and after a few phone calls - he told me to re route the flight to Coimbatore. He would meet me and the friends there. The first flight out to coimbatore was at 6.40am - we booked it and waited it out at the airport.
Raihaan was tired and he slept by my side whilst I, bought a small novel at the Delhi Airport and spent the night reading.

TA and I were re united in Coimbatore at about 9am the following day and we checked into a small hotel and refreshed. The friends, since not able to go to chennai -  decided to go back home. So after sending them back home -  we went on to find out if we can book flights out from coimbatore.

There wasn't a flightout from Coimbatore for the next few days according to the guy in SQ. But we can try from Cochin. We didnt wait. My tenant -  Satya - who was already in Coimbatore - arranged to have a driver and car sent to our help. We drove to Cochin. My father in law, hubby and I -  all in a small car -  arrived cochin 6 hours later. And then several hours later -  we were on the flight back to Singapore.

What I have failed to mention in all the above was the nitty gritty things - like the agony of waiting for flight, the stress that I went through thinking of all the scenarios that could go wrong, the long hours of travel, the irritation of not being able to connect to relatives to find out if they are still ok in the flood, and my phone - that was at times working and at most times not working. I left alsmot all my personal belongings in my house  back in Chennai. I was worried about that too. I have never been stranded in any airport. I just was not used to this.

But I was not alone. There were thousands of people displaced around Bengaluru, Hyderbad, Trichy and Coimbatore because Chennai was shut down. Strangers suddenly were nice. We shared stories. All I wanted during the 12 hour waiting time in Delhi Airport was to be with my husband. I know that everything would be ok if he was with me. I didnt care about anything else  and I didnt want to know about anything else. If I had to -  I would have taken the road to drive me to wherever he was. But hubby did that. He took the cab and came to Coimbatore to find me.

All I needed was my passports and my family to be together. And though the ordeal of coming back home was a little too much -  I would not say it was a bad experience. I felt the touch of God everywhere I went. His guidance in this journey was felt. Both of us - felt it.

The scene in Chennai today - is still the same as I type this. Its still raining ( not as heavily) and theres still flood. The help from the governement is slow -  but people have turned on the humanity switch in them to help the affected people.  Not all indians are selfish -  they are humans and they can be good. And I learnt that they are the most resilient people ever. You don't ever want to mess with them.

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