Our rescue : The common man
I wouldn’t forget the last two weeks of August 2018. Maybe none of the Keralites who had gone through these days in their lifespan would.
Wasn’t that an exciting news for any student belonging to a professional college to hear “your college is on leave due to heavy rainfall”. Well, my friends and I were pretty much excited about it. Being an exhausted medico, I walked from the ward with terrific happiness deciding to go back home to enjoy the holiday and the weekend.
Who would never love rain? At least once in our lifetime, we have all experienced the beauty of every drop of water which touched the soil and the sense of smell that took us to some part of our life. On travelling from central Kerala to south Kerala i.e, from Palakkad to Thiruvananthapuram, the heaviness of rainfall was reducing. I was smiling to myself “we betrayed you, collector”. On reaching my city, I could feel the freedom in the air, the slightly fallen rain and the impulsive ride with my dad.
While I was spending my weekend at home and turning the channels of the remote, a striking news came on the TV “Red alert for 13 districts in Kerala, there are chances of heavy rainfall almost in the entire state”. Suddenly some vibrations arose, it was the messages I received in my whatsapp. It was all about the chances of rainfall in Kerala. It all said that we might face a disaster soon.
The next day I was returning back to hostel with my friends. Inside the train there were only few people. We were looking outside the windows as usual to enjoy the scenaries of Kerala. But that time something went wrong…, some places were not the same…, water had risen everywhere and some got affected too. Every time we mocked at Bharathapuzha which was full of soil in it and a little of water, but that time it seemed beautiful with flowing emotions of water in it. And we really didn’t know it was some sign of destruction. After arriving hostel, again the good news came “ holiday for tomorrow”. I have never seen anything other than entertainment being played on our TV. But then we had witnessed it as well, all the time the news channels were screaming too much of haunting news to us.
Throughout the week, we went to the ground floor to have food , the news channels prompted the same news. “32 still missing”, “Kerala recognized 228 deaths by now”, “Indian army and air force on helicopters to rescue people”……., “Damages to roads and bridges in many places”….., “Alappy , Aluva and Pathanamthitta in pathetic state” ….., “Idukki is isolated with flood”…, “Hill stations are hit by landslips and flash floods”….., “ Kerala Police could start a campaign under the name Jalaraksha and could rescue about 50,000 people”. Even after all these operations there were still so much of people suffering the pain and facing death. Even then this flood wasn’t announced as a National Disaster. Our central government was unable to do anything for us to survive the situation. The authorities even denied us to receive the help that we got from foreign countries. While Kerala was seeking for more help, we could see trolls and posts in social media teasing our God’s own country from other states of India when half of our people were immersed in water.
All the messages I received in my phone was all about the lament of the people all around kerala for survival. I fetched a video one among them and it showed a terribly sad lady asking to help her sister and grandmother who had been trapped at the first floor of their house with water enclosed completely in the second floor. Another painful news was that there was a man’s dead body being tied near the window of his room by his family who were witnessing flood. Every time I made assure that my family and friends were safe, I could see few of my friends getting nervous about not getting a call to their homes. Since we have expected cyclones in our place and witnessed landslips , every time I took my phone one or the other asked me “Are you safe?”.
It was said in the news reports that the army and the air force had halted their services at night. But the kerala police continued their works even at night and the people who accompanied them were the fishermen. They could find thousands of people then. It wasn’t their duty but the fishermen bothered as it was. Despite saving their own life, they were selfless enough to do whatever they could. After all , they are the sons of sea.
There were plenty of post flood relief camps throughout Kerala. Even the people in districts which were not affected with flood worked effortlessly to rebuild Kerala. Despite the fund from Government, the collection from relief camps held by common people under the supervision of the excellent collectors from many districts of Kerala had stolen hearts.
Those days at hostel took all of us to a different world. Happiness was not found at the unexpected holiday but when we came to know that the pregnant woman had been rescued by Indian army and she could deliver her child safely. Enthusiasm was not found at seeing a movie but seeing our film star working day and night endlessly for the flood relief. Love was not found at the sweetest smiley we received but when we heard a child deciding to give 1000rs from his pocket money to flood relief camp which he had been saving for years to buy a bicycle, which was one of his biggest dreams. Kindness was not found in sharing anything among friends but when we saw a man bending his knees for the people to step into his shoulder to get into the boat which was floating on the water.
Rather than splashing good memories on us, this time the rain itself became a worst memory. But it showed us concealed emotions of many people. And this is our “God’s own country”, where humanity stood ahead of many things. Fear of water finally lead all of us to a belief, a strong belief that we would survive no matter what.