Friday, October 28, 2005

Oct 23-27 of 2005 - Days of Insanity

23 Oct 2005, Sunday
Entrance to Home

1.30am: Water flows in to the house like a stealthy snake hissing on it's way to unwanted territories. We dont know yet. There is no power at home.

3am: We wake upto the Uday's (1-yr kid from next door) usual shout. Later we understand this is probably when they evacuated their homes. Somewhere between, we realize water has sneaked in.

4am: Dad horrified of rising water level. I get the books on the bed. I just about keep space for my laptop and myself to lie down - waiting for the dawn. Our clothes are wet.
Water world at home

5am: We decide to move out - somewhere, anywhere but here.

5.30am: Mom and dad start packing a few clothes - whatever they can pickup. They also place important stuff on the bed - water is yet to reach that level. Meanwhile, I'm in the other room using the torch light of my mobile phone (Nokia 1100) - to pack my laptop, 2 Hard disks of desktop computer (together worth 280GB data). And a jeans with a T-shirt for Monday office. By now, we realize TV is half submerged along with Home-Theatre system.

5.45am: We leave to the terrace. I call my friend Deepak who stays in HSR layout 7th Sector and inform him we're coming to seek shelter at his place.

5.50am: Dad carrying a bag with one hand and holding on to mom's hand with another behind him. Me holding my laptop and another bag following them. In sholder-level water. Start to wade through the waters for over 400 metres. It's raining all the while.
Leaving home

6:15am: We walk to the main road and hire an auto to Deepak's place. The ride is a fast-moving set of frames of what we saw. What we did/did not. Whether we should believe or not. The fact that we just evacuated and abandoned our home of 11 years.

6.35am: Reach Deepak's place. Tea. Breakfast.

9.30am: Me and Venki hunt for a rented home. Finalize a couple of them - 2-bed-room flats for 7k.

12.30pm: We meet Chandra's father. He refers us to his brother's newly built 1-bedroom flats which are in the same area as we stayed until this morning. But safe he said.

2.30pm: I got the key for the house on the 1st floor. Whew - our hunt ended here. It took us about 5 hours.

3.30pm: I reach Deepak's place (Venki went home) amidst feet-level water on the HSR layout roads. Have lunch and set out to what's going to be our new home.

4.20pm: We reach new home 10 minutes before raahu-kaala - and mom is happy. And me as well!

5.30pm: We set out to look at a house which was on sale. However, we ended up going to the area where we stayed and saw from far - the water level had not improved. Then, clouds opened up - I went and got dinner packed.

6.30pm: Reached home with packed dinner and wet.

8pm: Go to sleep, or rather try to sleep.

24 Oct 2005, Monday

I had given strict instructions to mom and dad - "Do not go anywhere near our home that we left previous day". I made arrangements to leave office early around 10am and went to Kashi's place. I told him water is still there - let's go and checkout the situation, and do what we can. It turned out the last part of my last sentence was just too much for us. What we thought and what we did - in terms of a Finance Officer - we overshot target by over 1000%. Yes, 1000%.

We went on his bike and parked it at the point where it couldn't go further. Removed slippers - we couldn't walk in the water with them. The water-level was still near waist-high. We went home with 2 empty sacks. We make huge mass of clothes, stuff, books, anything we thought important - documents and certificates (thank God they were untouched by the waters). Each time, we both carried these huge sacks on our shoulders, waded through the water back to the shore - as you may call it - and dumped them in my mom friend's home. Once the number of sacks was good enough for an auto, we would carry them to the new rented home. If there was no auto, we carried each sack on his bike - he rode it while I carried the sack. From 11am to 8pm. Innumerable number of times of wading through the waters. Atleast 10 bike rides to rented home. 3 auto rides.

Sometimes, we got the help from a huge fibre-tub which was made as a boat to carry women, kids and elders to and from - through the waters. We put in as many sacks as it would carry. That made our task a little quicker couple of times. We made a make-shift boat from a big tub we had at home to carry sacks. To top it all, we even managed to push-pull my bike through the waters - and then push-pull it all the way to my rented home - ofcourse it wouldn't start after floating in the waters for couple of days.
My floating bike

The bonus was that my mom-dad were able to cook lemon-rice from the gas-stove and cylinder we were able to get out of the troubled home. You bet it was tasty!

The night - I donno about mom and dad - I kept waking up through the night only to find out there was no water next to where I was sleeping. Now I know a real night-mare.

25 Oct 2005, Tuesday

It was raining the whole day - so action here.

26 Oct 2005, Wednesday

Some more of what me and Kashi did on Monday. From 10am to 3pm. This time water level was upto the knees and there was no boat either.

27 Oct 2005, Thursday

I tried to get a truck/tempo to get the huge stuff out of the old house - like beds, TV, Washing machine, Refrigerator, etc. But it was raining the whole day and also two instances of poor coordination with the person who was supposed to get the tempo.


I feel no shame or regret for writing with this level of detail. I know I need not be. And I've not written it for my blog's beauty. I want this to remain as a hard documentation of what my family went through. I want to remember this for each day of the rest of my life. Because it inspires me like nothing else. Inspires me to do whatever it takes to ensure that nothing like it happens to my family again. Atleast that's what I'm going to try for at all times. It's that simple and powerful. I must say it has taught me money doesn't fit in to the picture at such times - all you care is if you've taken care of your folks enough. I'm now ready to spend it on just about anything which brings some sort of twinkle in the eyes of those you care.

I've mentioned a few names - mainly Deepak, Venki, Kashi (Vishwanath) - who have literally been with me in the middle of the twister. To Deepak - I say this:
The biggest thing anyone can do for another is to provide food and shelter. You and your family have done that at a delicate time of crisis my family is going through. When we most needed it. And especially so without making us feel embarrassed or anything like that.

Venki was with me until we found a safe shelter. Kashi was/is with me to get my family back to some sort of sanity and normalcy. Special mention to Chandra's father and his brother for renting out a home for my family in less than a couple of hours. And folks at office for almost giving me a free hand to decide when I can come to office and when I can take an off.

To all the Gentlemen above:
You don't have any clue how much we're thankful to each of you and your families. At this time, all I can say is we will never forget this gesture. Thanks in 65 Million!

More snaps will be up soon >>
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