Tuesday evening when I was back to home from office, Chennai offered a incredible climate. The usual blistering heat was gone. In the place of oppressive clear sky, odd moody clouds were brooding blankly with mild depression. Is this really May 18 ? A day of Agni Natchathiram?, are the questions that would have suddenly sprang in the hearts of those who happened to cross Marina beach on that beautiful evening. I did cross Marina that evening and the same question surfaced in my heart too. When I got home, I discussed this uncommon thing I witnessed with the family and they told me the birth of brutal cyclone Laila.
On the other circumstances I – or any other chennaite, to speak, who rely on the road transport -would have regretted for the birth of a cyclone. With cyclones hanging around, it is not so feasible to travel in Chennai. However, the agni natchathiram had hotted up the place so much, that the news of storm cooled me off. I looked at the clouds devotedly, which was still brooding deeply. “Does this people deserve the rain?”, it seemed to be asking itself to make up its mind. That night, at 15 minutes to 3 AM, a massive thunder shattered my sleep. The baby cyclone was playing outside.
Chennai electricity board (EB) folks were rather sharp. Their passion to work is unlimited in the period of floods, cyclones and other natural disasters. It was with that passion, they cut down the power scarcely had the storm started to play.
Wednesday dawned with lack of light. The day was on the hands of Laila, which then moved out from its baby phase to matured girl. It altered Chennai ardently. I set out to work with the aid of thin umbrella. Heavy rain vanished the streets. Waist-deep water wrenched my attire. On the way to office, an uprooted tree rested peacefully across the road as if taking sun bath in a sea shore. A helpless traffic constable, along with a crowd of cheerful spectators, stared at it painfully. This blocked the traffic.
Evening was also pretty challenging. Intensified Laila uprooted more tress and landed them exactly at the spots where it will be visible for general public. I called my home and asked if the power was restored. “No”, my mother said, “those EB fellows are very much concerned about our safety. They suspect some power leakage around our place and are not willing to pass the leaking voltage in human beings”. I said, “ That will not save me completely. Probably while swimming in the waist-deep dark water with no street light to guide me, I would land smoothly in some trench dug for rain water storage”. She asked me to shut up and I did. The day ended with lots of adventure.
Only after 32 hours , EB regained their confidence that they will not be responsible for any killings that happens around my place. Power restored. Laila is no more here. It drifted to Andra now and on the way it seems to be brooding again on whether it needs to hit machilipatnam or not.