Writings on The Wall #20: Calamity

Living through a raging pandemic as we are in India, we don’t need a bigger calamity in our lives. But we witnessed one briefly this past week, as Cyclone Tauktae stormed through Goa and along the entire western coastline of India.

With the first thunder and lightning power went out, plunging us in darkness for the next four days. As I sat in my room, trying to read and write in the daytime, I could hear crashing sounds all around me. They sounded like tin roof tearing away, or jackfruit that have ripened on the tree next to my bedroom window crashing on to the garage roof, or worse, entire trees getting uprooted.

Now, was I imagining all those terrible consequences? Because when I stepped out on our flat’s balcony during a brief lull, there were no visible signs of the disaster. But the sounds were real.

It was only when I resumed my early morning walks six days later that I realised the extent of the damage. The tin sound I had heard was not roofing, but a signboard in a nearby block that had been ripped away. Jackfruit hadn’t crashed but plenty of trees’ branches had snapped in the gale-force winds of Tauktae. Power or telecommunication cables – I am not sure which – were dangling in the middle of the road, severed from their posts.

It is the closest I have ever come to experiencing a calamity of this sort and yet, I am certain my parents and I were spared the worst of its fury. It could have been much worse, and indeed it must have been for the poor and the less privileged.

My thoughts on how calamities fall disproportionately on the poor, as I write directly in the WordPress App on my tablet for the first time and share them with you all. Usually, I prefer to do most of my writing on my computer. But this is the time to make do, I suppose. Our BSNL broadband internet connection has yet to be restored and even after putting in several complaints, it shows no signs of life.

PS: Our BNSL internet connection at home in Goa has been restored just a day ago, but after several complaints and on and off connectivity for a few days. It had little to do with the cyclone it appears, and more to do with mischief by the usual suspects: Perfect Relations and BBDO Chennai. Some people never learn!

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