As I stood in my verandah, watching branches and trees come down with every passing wind, I was sure that I would, like sandman, fly like the eagle in the eye of a hurricane abandoned ! Only in this part of the world, it is called a cyclone. And truth be told, Vardah was only a category 1 cyclone with wind speeds around 150 kmph, far less than seen by other parts of the world. But in our fairly dense woods, the damage that the 150 kmph caused has been pretty heavy. Large trees, which were at least a century old, have been uprooted and they lie belly-up across the streets of our neighbourhood. The excavators have been working hard at pushing the debris out of the streets, but it will take a while before our neighbourhood can hide the ravages of Vardah. From what I hear, the city outside our campus is even worse.
Our city is known for cyclonic storms, but usually, we are in the outer walls of the eye that crosses south of us, so that all we would get are buckets pouring down with some, what can now safely be referred to as, strong breeze. This is perhaps the first time in my life that the city came more-or-less directly in the path of the eye (even if poorly formed), and so, we experienced the entire cyclone – the distant walls, the inner walls, the eye and the lagging walls. While the wind in itself was rattling (pun unintended), for me, it was not half as whelming as the calm during the passage of the eye. The silence was deafening, especially since it followed a couple of hours of 150kmph winds cruising through the dense woods of our campus and the adjoining Raj Bhavan campus, sounding like a hundred trains rushing through at the same time.
I was born during a cyclone – nothing like the one that just passed, though. Perhaps that’s why I feel an instant connection to cyclones. Even to Vardah that has destroyed my city. I have never felt more alive than I was when I stood in my verandah watching the howling winds and madly swaying trees, and while I knew that the damage would be widespread, I felt like I was everywhere- inside my body, outside my body – that THIS was me. It was a surreal feeling of continuity. Yes, for the sake of the world, I would not inflict this on anyone ever again, but this experience is something I hold on to until I become one with it in spirit as well.
We are well. The power and internet are a little wobbly, but that will settle soon. Cell phone towers don’t work reliably as well, so we are in and out of the communication network. Nevertheless, we are well, and my city, being resilient as it is, will bounce back in no time.