How Floods in Kerala affected me

I stay at a hostel next to my college since my parents are abroad and visit my grandparents at Companypadi on weekends. Companypadi is a place in Aluva.

13th August 2018:

After a usual day at college my grandmother called me and asked me to come home the next day for the family get together. First of all I’m not a big fan of family gatherings and on top of that I had a meetup to attend on 15th at a place close to my hostel, so I was reluctant to go. But she compelled me to be there and hence I had no choice.

14th August 2018:

As per the plan I reached home and got ready for the get together at my relatives home, 2 mins away from my place. We were all having fun. In between I heard my uncle telling that the water has reached below the knee level in some places nearby. I didn’t pay much attention to it and was thinking about the number of people I would meet tomorrow. Little did I know I would have to evacuate from my home the very next day.

After getting back home I took a shower. I was tired after the day and was ready to sleep. I kept an alarm at 7 a.m. to get ready for the meetup.

15th August 2018:

I woke up to see the road in front of my house flooding and the water level was rising to cover the car porch. My grand mother asked me to cancel the meetup plan since it was raining heavily. I had no other choice but to not attend it. I asked a couple of my friends who had the same plan and got to know that they cancelled it as well. My uncle and family who had come for vacations were staying with us. We expected the water to reach just the porch. There was no panic at all.

By 11 a.m my uncle went outside and got to know that many people started shifting to safer areas. He put forward the idea that we shift early to his flat at Edappally because it would be difficult for Vellapichi(Grand father) to walk if the water level increases. So we started shifting things from downstairs to the first floor. We expected the water level to rise just above the ankle inside the home, so we just moved the stuff kept at the bottom compartment of each cupboard. We left the house in the plan to return in the evening.

Since we were going to the flat, none of us bothered to change our dresses. I was comfortable in my night suit.

We were 9 people and all of us couldn’t fit in the car. So we divided ourselves into two groups, the first group would reach by metro and then get picked up while the second group would travel in the car. I was already embarrassed about the metro ride in this dress. Then later I got to know that we were having lunch from Calicut paragon. *Facepalm*

We reached the flat after all that to see the front area of the building in water. We looked at each other and giggled. There was nothing we could do, but to stay. Since my uncle stays abroad and no one lives in the flat, we had no food stocked up. We also learned that the shops were about to close due to floods. My uncle went along with my cousin to get necessary items from the nearby shops.

A strong community of people lived in the building. They decided to work throughout the night to prevent water from getting into the building. They started making contour bunds to prevent water from flowing to the underground car parking area.

16th August 2018:

We woke up to see the water starting to overflow the bunds to fill the underground area. There was nothing we could do except watch it helplessly.

Since we had very less food supply and was unaware of until when we would be staying in the building, we limited ourselves from eating too much. For the breakfast we fed on one chappathi each. My grandmother who usually complained that I ate less, had nothing to say now. For lunch we ate the traditional “ kanji and achar”. We understood the strong feeling and value of hunger when the food tasted really well irrespective of what it was.

17th August 2018:

The water rose to fill the underground area. We also heard that there would be shortage of water supply from the next day and there won’t be electricity.

Meanwhile we heard that the first floor of our house was already under water. The food supplies at flat were also decreasing. There was panic now. My grandmother’s sister called her up to say the walls of her house broke down. On hearing this, my grand mother started crying. We consoled her telling that this is the time to stay strong and to be bold.

18th August 2018:

There was water on all the three sides of the building except the backside. Since there was no water supply, it was necessary to move out. Meanwhile, the residency had taken the decision to break the back walls as an escape plan. We called up Velyakochumama(my grandmother’s brother) who was giving out flats for rent to enquire if there was a flat for us. We shifted to his place which was opposite to Nimmitutu’s(My grandmother’s sister) house. So we have food from there.

We are still living here. Now since the water has receded, the cleaning job has begun.

Floods left my home with mud and loss of many properties including some of my certificates which had been safely kept in the cupboard.

We had to start from zero. All the furnitures, electronic appliances etc; were all destroyed. Such a calamity has only occurred in Kerala before 100 years. We had no clue about anything. This would serve as a lesson.

This is just my story. There are many people out there who had lost their loved ones and had greater economic losses. I’m sure everyone will have some or the other story to tell- this is what happened to us and this is how we overcame.

I saw people getting closer. I saw a community irrespective of religion or caste staying together to help the affected - Malayalees. Everyone was ready to help each other overcome this crisis. We will rise, even more stronger.

SDE at Amazon | YouTuber | WIT-GHCI Scholar | GDG Cochin Speaker | Google IBA winner | Nielsen. Subscribe to my channel at: youtube.com/FarhaKareem

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