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Day 195: Rising above the tide - Chennai

This past couple of weeks has been rough on the beautiful capital city of Tamil Nadu-Chennai. The city was devastated with endless rains and flood. It was such a disastrous few weeks that it changed the way of life for the many who lived there. Chennai has always had water problems. But never has it been with so much water. It is usually the other way around. Water has been a scarce issue in the past. I have lived about 6 1/2 - 7 years there and during those times thankfully have had enough rains to help our water issues and never had much issue with 'lack of water.' However, this year, the climate change (which a lot of us are ignoring signs) issues have had an impact all around the world and Chennai was 'blessed' slightly more than it could take with rain. More than the rain flooding the city, it was the overflowing dams that caused more damage. The sad part was that the national media paid no attention to the issue here and instead had discussions on 'intolerance'. Well, at times I think it is probably the consequence of having too many media houses and news channels than what is required.

Anyways, the water and flood marooned the city but did not dampen the spirit. Every single individual contributed in their own way to help the troubled folks get through this calamity. I could not pay attention to social media initially but once I did, I was amazed to see how everyone was making the best of tweets and wall posts to spread the message. Of course, on the other side this did cause a lot of confusion with the same message and information misused. However, on a larger scale it did more good than bad. Chennai's younger population did show grit and generous heart to wade through the dirty and scary water logged roads and help the stranded with food, shelter, and warm clothes.

Image Caption: Social Media 
 Today, the businesses are getting back and people are slowly getting back to normal routine life. It made me question a lot of things in life. We, as people value various things on the hierarchy scale. However, when an issue as large as this bothered people, there was no difference in who helped whom or who cheated whom. It was like every one was every other person. No difference in class, place, language, or even gender. All that mattered was if they could eat, find a place to sleep, and stick together with their family. It also made me think about how we as human beings so hate the usual routine life but once that is disrupted we find it hard to get back to 'normal' again. Ironical but true.

I had my family and friends there in Chennai but thanks to the good god, they did not really get into much trouble. Yes, the occasional power issues and satellite issues haunted them during the past two weeks but being in places that were not as bad as the few water logged locations helped them at least stay intact indoors. Chennai has come back and the thanks is only to the collective power of 'common-man'. It was the tireless and selfless efforts of various simple government officials, administrative folks, the young and vibrant people, those who shared and organized the logistics from across places like Kerala and Karnataka, those who did their best by contributing monetarily from around the world. Yes, the scars will haunt for a while and the people who lost a lot more than a few material possessions will take time to walk their path. However, this beautiful city has taught us once again that a city is a not just the man made buildings and offices, it is the people who form the city and its personality as much as they are altered by it. Thank you to this beautiful city which has stood the test of time and have fought back the dirty waters by standing tall.

Note: I usually don't like when media starts focusing on celebrities especially from the cinema industry for all their good help. However, this time, I liked actor Siddharth's attention in media as that helped at least the so called 'National' (or should I call, North Indian) media to focus on the real issue. 
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