Wednesday, 3 June, 2009

Aila re....

Aila hit Kolkata....thunder, lightening, storms, falling trees, lashing rains and television channels running full commentary on the storm, predicting the exact moment when she is going to hit Kolkata. All their predictions came wrong....Aila hit in her own sweet time.

Aila was ferocious. In my years of living in the tropical belt with the sea nearby I have not experienced anything like this. Since forever I remember there would be red alerts and then the storm would divert to Bangladesh or Orissa. But this time Aila choose to hit Bengal killing people, destroying property, ripping trees and leaving the government and administration gaping and the general public devasted and angry. Newspapers say that Aila turned this ferocious because of the effects of global warning.

Rains started from Sunday, rains are a welcome right now cos they cool down the temperature. This has been one of the hottest summers on record. Monday morning I woke up to see rains continuing and a gloomy cloudy sky. It was the ideal rainy day. Remember those days when it would rain buckets and suddenly during the third or fourth period school would be announced closed cos of water logging? Or even better would be those days when you wake up to heavy rains and peek outside your window/ verrandh to see completely water logged street. Ah what joy! Anyways to get back to the present I woke up Monday morning to torrents and just decided to skip office. Thankfully that day my mom did not need much convincing. I was happily sipping hot green tea I switched on the television and saw the entire telecast around this storm. Red alrets were sounded and offices were shut. My dad had braved the storm and gone out. He came back and we sat down to a lunch of khichuri and dim bhaja ( rice and lentils and friend egg). The television telecast got gloomier with reports on rising number of deaths and massive destruction of property. I was thankfull that I had skipped office. By evening the storm had subsided to a large extent. But the destruction shown on television was heartbreaking.

Next day got to hear how my colleagues had a tough time reaching home. It took some as long as 5 hours, many of them had to change lots of transports. The trains had stopped because over head wire had snapped off so people living in the suburbs had a tough time returning home. A lot of people had to walk, our maid, poor dear had to walk for more than 4 hours when the train she was commuting in could move go beyond Garia. Had she been stuck in the Ballygunj station she could have spent the night along with the others in the station itself but Garia not being familiar to her, she had to brave the storm and the rain and since there was no transport available walk home.

Aila has destroyed entire villages in her wake, people have been living in relief camps where aid has not reached them. In several parts of Kolkata there was no electricity for 3 days at a stretch, roads were blocked, saw a newspaper photograph where a tree was leaning over a house. Though there was no water logging in south Kolkata, in the north some streets were water logged.

People are not going to forget Aila in a hurry.

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