Chennai Floods – Our Relief Effort

I am writing this story after three days. The flood situation was grim and on the night of 3rd December 2015, I decided to touch base with my friend Robert to do something for the city of my birth. While I was watching rescue and relief operations underway along the banks of River Adayar, I was also completely aware that the Northern parts of Chennai did not receive the much needed media attention.

The next day, I reached Robert’s home at Madhavaram around 9 in the morning and solicited help. Kind hearted he is, he quipped that I arrived at the right time. I took my 11 year old son with me and we were three by now. We decided to get to Robert’s office at Mint and arrange for food packets from there. Robert touch based with a cook near Mint and he helped us cook around 1000 packets of vegetable fried rice. By the time we could pack them, it was already 4.30 pm.

Along with the food packets, we traveled by a mini van wading through the water near the Mint over-bridge. By the time we reached Moolakothalam, darkness was beginning to fall. There were local volunteers who were ready to distribute the food to the people. We were told that people living immediately in the vicinity were provided food and relief but the people that lived further inside did not have any. We were also told that the place is covered with waist-deep water and in some places even more.

We decided to get right inside those interior areas. We transferred the food on to a bullock cart which were hand pulled by the volunteers. We three sat on the cart. The cart was slowly pushed and began entering the moolakothalam bridge. The cart sank and plunked immediately in 4 feet of water and we had to stand up to guard ourselves from the flooded water. We could see the sewage water from Buckingham canal and the flood mixed up and quite ironically we were told that the constituency of RK Nagar begins here.

It was total darkness when we reached the destination, Ambedkar Nagar, as told by the volunteers. On their guidance we began distributing food calling every single household. Robert and my son enthusiastically gave away food to the needy. I could see happiness in their faces. After we finished distributing food, I had an old man who walked up to my son and blessed him from the bottom of his heart. I guess that is what any father would want to hear of his children. I told the old man that it was his birthday today. Many volunteers surrounded my son and started wishing him. I told to myself that I have given the best Birthday gift to my son on his 11th Birthday – The Experience of Giving and Deriving Happiness out of it.

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