Chennai – Namme ooru pole varuma!

The frogs are getting too loud. I eye the long handled mop I’ve kept near the door to make sure I know exactly where it is when I need to grab it and clobber the snake that I’d seen earlier in the night slithering through the water outside our gate pausing to turn and wolf down a frog before gliding under my car parked outside, if it decides to return.
I am terribly fortunate. I have electricity and internet, my phone is charged, I have clean drinking water and food and the frogs and snakes are still OUTSIDE my home.
I am thankful.
And I am terribly proud of this city and its people.
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Rains will no longer conjure up images of hot bajjis and pakodas, long drives or rain songs on radio. It will be a long time before rains would be #romantic or #awesome. Over the last couple of weeks, Chennai, the rain loving little city has seen nothing but rains, unrelenting rains that have battered the city, wrecked the roads, filled up canals, reservoirs, broken walls and flooded roads and houses. We never expected it would come to this. We never thought we’d have to travel by boats on our roads. We never thought we’d go without power for days together, unable to reach family and friends, that we’d need relief, that we’d be marking ourselves safe on facebook. These were things that happened to far off lands, never to Chennai. So we thought.
We have seen nothing like this ever before.
But these rains have brought to the fore this strange, most beautiful thing. I am getting all choked up. I am shocked and choked. People have been cooking extra meals for strangers, venturing out on to water logged roads driving over to donate things, passing on important and useful information on social media, connecting people through, welcoming people into their homes and caring for each other.    
We have seen nothing like this ever before.
I always had a strong unexplainable gravitation to my city. I had to always come back. This was my land. My gravitation has only got stronger. I am pretty sure it’ll take more than these floods to make me or any of my fellow Chennaivasis budge from this city.
I can hear my sister say “When you have power, internet and TV, you bloody well won’t feel like moving your fat ass”.
True. Still, true.
I am proud of us. Namme ooru pole Varuma!  
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