Chennai Chronicles — How December gave me my Darling
Aara!! I understood through the special tone set for her texts.
‘It’s raining… Shall we start earlier?’ read her text.
It was just another boring day at the office for me, ‘yes come to basement 1 and will start on my bike’ I replied.
‘It’s raining heavy, let’s walk.’
‘No, I don’t have an umbrella.’
‘We can go together in mine.’
I smiled without giving a reply and prepared to start.
I hate carrying an umbrella, simply because I love walking together in a girl’s umbrella!! After all, it’s the only other thing that brings a boy and girl so close physically, and all of us know what the other one is☺.
Both of us live along the banks of Adyar River; she lives in a PG with her friends at ‘wood creek county’ crossing the river bridge, and I live with my parents at ‘river view colony’ just before the river. Loud talks, wild laughs filled our rain romance and we were enjoying our walk together IN HER UMBRELLA.
Both of us reached home past 8 p.m. that day. We were sincere love bees who pretended ourselves as friends. Just like all other “friends” we too meet, greet, travel, chat, text, talk, wander, do nothing, etc. So too was that day, we were texting past 2.00 a.m. till the time I slept off rather unknowingly.
I woke up around 8 am the next day; the first thing that strikes us on waking up after a wild party is the memory of the drink we had the previous night. Slowly moving out of my bed, grabbed my mobile and passed a “Good Morning!!” to her. The signal was weak, and the delivery report failed.
I felt the room was hazy and my parents to be missing. I could hear my Mom near the balcony; her voice sounded melancholic. I moved near her and peeped out in the direction she was pointing, ‘a catastrophe’ she said.
Our flat was in the farthest corner of the 2nd floor of our 4floor apartment. I could see nothing but water completely filled up to the ground floor. Without waiting a minute, I rushed downstairs to take stock of the situation.
Apartment Watchmen and all of the security guards were on the 1st floor trying to safeguard as many people they can. I joined with them immediately. One of them asked,
‘Is it flooding on the other side of the river too?’
Another replied ‘Sir in my 60 years of life, never have I seen such torrential rains. Most of the city is drowning.’
I pulled my parents too into the rescue act. The sounds of water nor the sights of people running to save their lives distracted me from saving people, courtesy my ERT lessons at school. We were moving everything to higher floors until 4 p.m. before the next set of waves visited our apartment. This time, the impact was greater, I was forced back to my home meaning water has filled up to 1st floor.
The surroundings turned silent and dark, and rescue was stopped. Everyone around me was clueless in fear and were looking for all possible ways to get out of here. I was there in a corner, awake whole night thinking all about her. Where will she be and what would have happened to her. But all this time I was robust and determined, I knew I will get to meet her soon.
The next day was due, but the sun failed to shine. By the time the NDRF rescue team arrived, it was already noon. ‘The order of boarding on the rescue boats is kids, women, elderly and men’ shouted a rescue personnel. Another screamed ‘water inflow has subsided, and reservoir will not be opened again, men who knew swimming can dive in and leave the place.’ Without informing anyone, I started swimming to reach the nearby Highland.
I was literally in the streets; and it was already dark. I tried to cross the river bridge to reach her PG, but the surreal water level and the guards at the edge of the street didn’t allow me to do so. Day 2 was over in darkness, both for me and the city in total. I felt desperate but strong. I was confident on the possibility of meeting her.
Day 3 and water had dried up in parts. Roads were visible and vehicular movement was possible. Cellular Network was spasmodic. My dad had charged his mobile in a police jeep outside and immediately updated his status as ‘All safe at home’ in Whats App for my relatives to feel ease. I was actually ‘safe and fuming’ myself, not knowing where she was.
I was finally able to reach her place. Though the extent of the devastation was ominous on the other side of the river, nothing disturbed me much as all my focus was on meeting her. I entered her PG brimming with joy, but immediately on seeing me the PG warden informed that Aara had started to her relative’s house immediately on the onslaught of the floods. I knew no such family of her in Chennai.
I had that blind confidence remain in me; I was walking back home thinking ways to find her. Near the corner of my street, a group of volunteers were distributing food packets. I wanted them for my parents; I went rushing to the volunteers immediately. And to my surprise there she was volunteering; in possibly her most tarnished self, yet looking the most beautiful to me.
She came running towards me the moment I was spotted in the crowd. She hugged, and I kissed.
She cried, and I shed tears… probably for the first time in three days!!!
It may be the girl who weeps, but it’s always the guy who turns weak seeing it.