Moving on…after Phailin

Posted on October 16, 2013


Cyclone UNA

Cyclone UNA (Photo credit: Arthur Chapman)

12th October 2013, Cyclone Phailin hit my state. It was expected that the storm would bring wind of up to 136 Miles/hr.  The fear in faces of more than one billion people overshadowed the dark clouds floating over our head. The news channels both local and national, reported from the ground zero.

Reports said, Phailin would landslide at 6:30 that evening. Just like us Indians, it too did not reach its destination on time. May be Phailin too was aware of the fact that, we Indian do not encourage punctuality.

It was also the day that marks the biggest festival of our state; the  day on which our people worship Goddess Durga.   But somehow for the first time, when I left my home that evening, I saw roads were empty, darkness covered everywhere and not many people dared to come out of their houses. We were 150 Miles away from the place where the destruction was predicted. Still the nature’s roar did not fail to reach the place where I was at that time.

Next day, was my grandfather’s death anniversary. I bought few things those required for the rituals. Before I could return home, Phailin reached its destination. That night, I sat in front of my television set and reporters of those 24/7 news channels shared every details of what they were experiencing at that time. I wondered why the hell that reporter was trying to show his unnecessary heroism, by standing on a roof top, while the back ground was too dark for the camera to capture anything. In the meantime, It was bit funny and irritating that, another woman reporter sitting in the studio informed us viewers that, we must guess the speed of the wind by seeing how the wind blew hair of the other reporter, who stood in the place where phailin had started showing its characteristics.

The rain continued all night at my small town and at 3AM the electricity went off.

After more than one year, my first novel’s complete manuscript was saved on my laptop. Copy edit was done. I wanted to send my proposal next day to all the leading publishing houses. I thought it was purely coincidental that, just a day before my grandfather’s death anniversary the project ended. I always feel the urge in me to write has a connection with my grandfather. I do not remember his face. He died when I was only one year old. I did not have any memories of him with me. Still what I heard from others, he was a great writer and he has a great command over this foreign language in a time where India was ruled by some people speaking that same language. His work never got published nor did he get any recognition for his work. He was a reputed man in our small town; but after two generations that reputation too lost its presence in the society.

 Next day morning, when I woke up, I heard there was not much causality due to the cyclone. But it had affected badly so many town and villages like ours. Due to heavy rains, and sea not receiving water from the river due to the cyclone; the over flowing river water had now entered to the houses and streets of our town. In past twenty eight years I had never seen such a flood before.

Still the rituals performed at my place; while water kept on entering many of my friends’ homes. The communication to their place was broken. It was impossible to reach their place. From first floor of their houses, they kept on looking at water entering their ground floor and destroying their goods. By evening water reached to the first floor too.

 There was no help from any official, so they did not have any way other than waiting for the water level to go down by its own.  It was scary. That night after doing enough damage, the water level went down. I remembered I had some plan with my manuscript. But there was no electricity; and I could n’t hope of my wish of knocking at all the publisher’s mail box with my proposal on my Grandfather’s death anniversary getting fulfilled.

The calendar hanging on my room’s wall took me to the next date with the sunrise.The condition still remained the same. No electricity, no water supply. The evidence of destruction could easily be seen on the streets of my small town. Properties of millions laid in front of the shops damaged; houses were broken; accessories were floating on the water; no smiling face anywhere around me.

In next few hours, we got our power supply back. The small town lit up with artificial brightness once again. People again crowded the narrow streets joining every locality of my small town. The place now much looks like what it was before the flood. The mark of destruction still left everywhere around us, but people have started moving on.

I too sent my proposal to publishers, and started preparing for an exam I have few weeks later. The nervousness and anxiety of getting close to a dream, that I have lived with since so many years now helped me in getting rid of the fear of the natural disaster.

Does not matter how much big the crisis is; it’s us humans’ hopes, dreams and aspirations those help us to move on…..

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