The Spirit of Chennai

As I wait for the city to limp back to life between power cuts, internet troubles and cell phones with no signal, I feel like I have been stripped down to the bare minimum. No more escaping reality by drowning oneself in technology. Suddenly there is too much free time and too many people around for comfort. You are forced to interact, to make conversation. And in those forced conversations you realize how far removed you are from the life that is unfolding right in front of you. How alienated you are from the very people you share your roof with or the folks who live on your street. And it did not happen overnight. It happened over careless days, months and years skyping with folks thousands of miles away or sending messages to someone you met online, while you remain oblivious to the ones that really matter.

Disasters truly test your character. Your best or worst comes out when you are pushed to the edge. You may rant and rave about being positive or advise others regarding their behavior in certain situations. But will you do the same? No one knows till you face the same reality.

Storms reveal the seas deepest, most hidden treasures. In Florida the rough seas cough up buckets of shells in the aftermath of a storm. In Chennai heaps of rubbish were thrown back to the beach. Treasure or trash? Only the storms in your life will reveal your true nature. What you put out there comes back to you multiplied. So what are you putting out there?

I for one felt helpless and cut off from the rest of the world. The only thing I could do was pray for the rain to stop and pray for those affected. So many people I know helped out in myriad ways, by providing food and sending people out to check on family not accounted for. In places as far away as Sweden, people prayed for Chennai.

When I came back to this city I found it changed and unrecognizable. I yearned for the city I grew up in with people who genuinely cared for one another and where everyone lived in harmony. The very spirit of the city which I thought was dead and buried, emerged from nowhere. Strangers risking their lives for others. People working round the clock to provide relief and rescue people. These stories warmed my heart and brought back my faith in a city that I was about to give up on. Chennai has revealed its treasures in the midst of one of the worst storms in a century. Its treasures are its people – pure, selfless, loving and generous.

6 thoughts on “The Spirit of Chennai

  1. Such poignant words D…. ! Indeed as you said- the storms have unearthed, along with the rubbish, selflessness and indomitable courage…! The spirit of Chennai, which we all thought was dead and gone has woken up again! Lovely post girl…

    1. Yes Nisha and I am so proud of Chennai now and all its people, especially girls we went to school with who pitched in and helped out!

  2. I have marvelled at the courage and selflessness of the young students and workers who went all out to stand by the people who were caught in the jaws of this calamity. They organised so wonderfully and tried to cover every place as well as they could. God bless them Even brave and kind simple folk like auto drivers etc were in the thick of it Ifelt proud of them and it was heartening to ksee many of our GSC students in it .What a calamity but many valuable lessons and blessings are going to tricle down into life in dear Chennai Reading about it with tears streaming down So moved was I . God bless all Still praying for you all from Tuscaloosa .

    1. Yes Mrs.Erevelles, proud to see Good Shepherd doing its bit for the relief work. Fatima Hall is abuzz with activity with teachers and students packing relief material. God Bless them!

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