Living on a hill with a beautiful ocean view certainly has its perks. This October, we finally faced the downside of it all.
While the city of Vizag took its precautions for Hudhud , I remained blissfully ignorant of the oncoming storm. In my defense, it was a simple case of “the –boy-who-cried-wolf”. As almost-localites of Vizag, we are used to all the rain and thunderstorms that happen in this region due to the presence of the Bay of Bengal. And the last three cyclone warnings were pretty useless considering that while Neelam was raging through, we were enjoying a bright sunny day. So when Hudhud was predicted, we took it in our stride and forgot about it. Add to it the fact that I barely watch TV, let alone News, I wasn’t even aware that it had a name or was heading for Vizag. When Ma messaged it she addressed it to Pickle and said, “Pickle shona, hudhud is coming…”I pegged it for the cutsie baby talk we usually do. Then my aunt called up, all worried and anxious about it and I pretty much bit her head off stating very calmly that we are on top of a hill and nothing… “NOTHING”… will happen to us. Ya… I was eating those very same words for breakfast, lunch and dinner just a day later.
T was working that Sunday and everything was the usual… I woke up… cooked his lunch… went through Pickle’s routine, he left for work. The first indication (which we happily ignored) was when T returned stating that the winds were too strong and trees were falling all over the place. He had barely missed being hit by one so he just turned around and came back home. I was confused since he is the sincere types like me and measly winds do not upset our routine… that is when he elaborated that his car was rocking … !!! FYI it was a Xylo he was talking about.
I hadn’t gone out till then so I didn’t really bother much. I was also busy being happy about the fact that he could finally stay at home on a Sunday (those are quite rare). At around 9 when I finally sat down with Pickle for his breakfast, I listened to the wind whistle outside and realized that it might be time to take a few precautions. So we jammed old clothes under the doors and in the windows to soak up any water sprays. We seriously never saw it coming!!!
By 10 the wind was howling as the spray of water banged repeatedly against our windows. While I huddled with Pickle at one end of his nursery, T frantically ran between rooms mopping up the water coming in through the windows. Suddenly around 1 it all cleared up, we quickly drove out to another section in search of network… we saw fallen trees and poles everywhere and thanked god that we were safe at home. By the time we were back and Pickle had his lunch, we felt it was all gone and were comfortable enough to start watching a movie on my laptop. The remainder of Hudhud that followed was simply traumatic. I am not scared of many things… ya dogs terrify me but I love thunderstorms and heavy rains. And if I tell you that “I”was scared…. Trust me it was scary. The cyclone raged throughout the second half… till early hours of the next day. We had our rooms flooded with water… when I got down from the bed the next day I was walking in ankle deep water.
What happened to the other houses were far from imagination. My entire campus looked like a refugee camp, garage doors had flown off and banged into buildings and cars, tiles and even roofs in some places had flown off… tanks, poles, windows, door frames…. There wasn’t a speck of greenery around. Huge trees were strewn on the roads, landslides had occurred as well… in my 30 years, I personally have only read about such destruction and acute sense of despair. I would have never imagined all this happening to me. There wasn’t any network, power or water supply for the next 7 days. It was not impossible to survive the conditions, I mean there were those without houses, but it was certainly hectic. Now at the cost of sounding privileged, I must confess it is harder to live without electricity when you are so dependent on it. Without a maid to help out and with a ten month old, electrical appliances are what help me get through the chores. My washing machine, the food processor, the water heater… so, it was quite challenging to manage the house, which was already in shambles, without the resources.
No network though was heavenly… being totally cut off from the world outside helped me finish 5 books, indulge in crocheting and the conversations with T. Once done with the chores and dinner, we would just sit around and chat without the irritating TV or phones to distract us.
Kudos to our maintenance staff though, electricity and network was restored in just 7 days. I know me grumbling about these non essential things sound extremely silly when there were those who lost their farms, houses, livelihoods and what not… but I can only imagine, empathize and pray for them.
Also, I know this post is like really really really late and trust me even I am tired of stating Pickle as an excuse… all I can say is that I will try harder to post more in real time next ime onwards.
A few snaps…