#ChennaiFloods – Nandri Nandri Nandri 

I wish we could find the man who was pasting the posters yesterday near Mogappair, thanking the “revolutionary” leader for helping the flood victims … He represented all that is wrong with our world today. You thank the very person who wrought havoc in so many lives indirectly by running a state like her personal fiefdom. Sycophancy seems like a sweet word with a bad smell. 

Chennai seems to be in a hurry to get back to normal …. And what is normal ? The road reconstruction will start just before the monsoon season, the new plots will be right on the channel that a reservoir uses to join a river, the storm drains and sewage drains will be joined in holy matrimony to help mosquitos to do their job more effectively, the tiles at the airport will fall three times and miss killing a few people and we won’t get it right, spurious liquor will be sold to unsuspecting poor workmen and their families will cry on TV, plastic bags will be freely tossed into drains and they will help choke them so we can enjoy occasional deaths due to flooding, instead of the morning “kaapi” a shot at the hardworking Govt.’s Tasmac bar will start the day, another election will ensure a new bigger color TV replaces the old smaller one in exchange for votes…. And life will be normal again :(.

The auto driver who brought us today from Pallikaranai to Jamin Pallavaram said “the population has increased manifold and everyone has become greedy. For their benefit they sell land and allow houses to be constructed at wrong places. Earlier there were fewer people and as soon as heavy rains fell, the village elders would go out with their mud picks and shovels and cut a channel to let the water flow to a lake or reservoir. They would clean the reservoirs regularly so they could hold a lot of water.” He isn’t much educated but he is wise. 

I am all for positivity and enthusiasm while dealing with these types of disasters but in the process of “being strong” are we playing into the hands of the perpetrators ? In a few days, the rains will subside, the roads will be patched and the relief money would be in the hands of the state Govt. Today there was a movie director who had come to Kamakshi Nagar, at Pallikaranai where there are some 250 to 300 families who have lost everything. He and his team had parked their cars near our colony and people from the cluster of hutments in Kamakshi Nagar came in a queue and took the relief material provided by the movie director. Some families got one packet for each member of the family while others didn’t get any…. Because at the same time, LPG cooking gas cylinders were being distributed about a kilometre away. How can one be in two places ? Yesterday another citizen group had gone inside Kamakshi Nagar and ensured that every family got a relief packet, a better distribution system. There is 7 tons of material from Goonj that has already arrived into Chennai and more is on its way. 

I have been brooding over this relief work today – 

Citizen groups, well meaning celebrities, NGOs, are all doing their bit and as we noticed near Kasi Theatre yesterday, the poorest of the poor have salvaged what they could and have even started repairing their tin huts or straw huts !! The well to do people need all the help to clean their flood affected houses and are willing to pay well, as they should and there is back breaking employment available and it pays well in the short term. What will happen to the 10,000 crores that has been allocated by the centre ? Who tracks the money ? I don’t know how this works but I want to follow through … Will every penny reach those that have lost everything in these floods ? I am unable to rid myself of this nagging doubt that a trickle will reach the deserving, and a big chunk will go in buying baubles which will be given away during the next elections and the vicious unrelenting cycle of looting will continue. 

There are harebrained schemes of getting your original certificate if you merely register a complaint that you lost them in the Chennai floods – maybe the dodo scion should also apply and get one. After all he was here today and even managed to visit a closed school in Pondi. 

Yes am jumping topics and I may not be very coherent but two sights harass my senses – an inhuman something raped a 28 days old baby and the elderly couple who were my aunt and uncle’s friends at Defence Colony drowning. I want to focus on the positive, but what sort of a world have we built where a newborn baby is game for rape, a 10-year old blows herself up as a suicide bomber and an elderly couple couldn’t be rescued from floods caused by human beings planning badly … 

Meeting Anshu tomorrow and hopefully helping Goonj will drive this despair away. But the question on how the centre’s relief monies won’t be looted remains. Ideas are welcome. 

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