Experiencing Vardah from my windows

No beating aboutΒ the bush. Cyclone Vardah was a beast, a beast that scared the life out of most of us. The Chennai floods was another devastating disaster last year, but for me, personally, Vardah had a vaster impact. Something I wasn’t ready for, despite warnings issued in the news. As I write this post, the city still struggles to be up and going. This is one of those times one realises how grateful we ought to be for a roof over our heads and food on our plates.

I was in my hometown (580+ kilometres away from Chennai) this weekend as warnings of a cyclone with winds as heavy as 100 kms/ hour were issued. But none of us at home worried about me traveling the night before Vardah because one, we did not know what a 100km/hr wind meant. Two, a similar cyclone warning was given earlier this month but it kind of passed without much damage, just spells of heavy rain now and then. So the thought was “How worse is this going to be, no big deal.”

Rains started to pour as my train neared Chennai accompanied by gusty, howling winds. I thought the winds seemed that strong because we were in a moving train. I was proved wrong soon enough. Umbrellas couldn’t stand the force asΒ I ran to catch my next local train to my place. Rains intensified by the time I reached home, so going to office was not an option. Power supply was cut leaving my mobile phone with no battery charge and my emergency lamp flickered and died after a few hours. Who wants a lamp in the morning, right? Actually, we did. It was dark the whole day.

Next to go was the water supply. I was already short on food. So, hungry and dizzy and tired, I sat by the window to watch the cyclone hit us hard. It was no less than ghostly. Rains weren’t heavy but they fell on us with such great force. The winds were insane, with the sturdiest of trees bending and breaking like pieces of styrofoam. But what was really blood curdling was the noises that accompanied. It alternated between a child wailing and a wolf howling. The winds fell so hard that the doors and windows shuddered with each blast. Trees were uprooted, electricity poles fell and thatched roofs destroyed, all before our eyes.

I spotted leaves being carried by the winds, then came umbrellas and small pieces of wood. When I saw bigger logs and roofs flying away, I knew how worse this was getting. Then came a point when deafening noise of the winds, flying particles and rain filled the atmosphere that nothing was visible anymore. I feared that the windows would give way, but what I did not anticipate was rain water entering through gaps as thin as hair. Such was the force of the winds. It was pitch darkness as I stepped in my hall, shocked as I felt water on the floors. Rest of the evening I tried my best using sponges to remove as much water as I can, mopping the floor and trying to seal the window gaps, but in vain.

The wind died down later that night and it was just rains for a while. Totally exhausted, I don’t remember when I fell asleep. When I woke up around 6:30 yesterday morning, the sun was up- a welcome relief. I made it to office, to see the beautiful bucket shaped glass building damaged in places. The campus trees were uprooted, our ground floor lunch destroyed completely, the car parking fences resting on the cars. But the most heart breaking sight of all, our favorite signature banyan tree took a heavy beating, something we hadn’t expected at all.Β  As painful as it was to see all of this, I was happy that I finally had a way to call my parents and also found something to eat. Hunger is cruel. Talk about the everyday things we take for granted!

Many took refuge in office, which was evident from the overflowing dorms and dinner queues. It is a blessing to work for an employer that took care of its struggling employees during such a catastrophe. This is the second time we are experiencing this, the 2015 floods being the first. It’s been two days since the cyclone hit. My floors are still damp, power lines are yet to be restored, there’s water scarcity throughout the city, but things are looking up. Yes, it will be a long time before the city is back to its former glory, but that’s the thing about Chennai, it is known for its resilience.

I do not have any photos to share, and there are enough photos on the news already. But this I can say. Vardah has taught us, yet again, to be grateful, compassionate, helpful, and maybe in some ways, joyful- to take things as they come and move on.





From a picky eater to a foodie of sorts

I used to be a picky eater. A very picky eater. Food was for survival, nothing more. I loved eating mom-made food but I was never really all pumped up when something special was being made, like most foodies are. I have heard food lovers go on and on about the ecstasy of taking in the aroma of freshly cooked food, of getting the first bite, of taste buds getting tickled, of savoring different cuisines and of the satisfaction of a hearty meal. While this is all really interesting to listen to, I never understood their love for food. The only thing that ever got me excited was tea.

This naturally meant my portions were usually small and gobbling down food was a habit. In our part of the world, biriyani is the king of all food. It is not everyday that biriyani is cooked in homes, but for any special occasion, there HAS TO BE biriyani. When a friend comes with a lunchbox full of biriyani to school/college, people just pounce on the box to get a share. And trust me, I am not exaggerating. When biriyani is brought, the classroom is a war zone. And me? I just wanted peace! Continue reading “From a picky eater to a foodie of sorts”

Where is my gaze?

Febiet lives with my uncle’s family. He is 13. If you had to convert that into human years, he is well over 90 and approaching a century. My parents were not very keen on having pets at home, so Febi was one of the two dogs I even got a chance to get acquainted with and to pet. The other one was a very good friend and play partner at a relative’s house, but I ended up being bit by him when I was around 7. Since then, I’ve been like, “Okay doggy, I love you, but I am NOT coming very close to you”, with every dog I met. The same was true for Febi. Continue reading “Where is my gaze?”

The Power of Words

The past week, I have been asking some of my friends this question- “What excites you?” and insisted that they stick to the little things and the simple joys rather than winning-the-Olympic-gold or grabbing-an-Oscar kind of excitement. Most of the answers hit close to home and it was exciting to get a view of how different things affect different people.

I have my own list too, which is clearly topped by tea. Yes. Tea is more than just a beverage for me. Too many emotions attached to it. Few others in my list wereβ€” riding pillion in a long stretch of empty road (used to love long bike rides with my dad as a kid. It seems so long ago now), a train ride in a window seat and wind blasting my face, the clouds and the skies, the sun and the moon, the sea breeze. There is another important thing that excites me. A quote or a line from a book, a movie, or a song that just touches me or moves me or makes me go awww. Words are powerful. Words evoke feelings. Words excite. Words heal. Words hurt. Words build. Words break. Words are magic. This is why I started writing in the first place.

I look back to my childhood summer vacations when I would search for books through the loft in my grandparents’ place, like a poor man would dig for treasure. I would pull out a book and carefully turn the brown pages that have become brittle with time. I would read those archaic Shakespearean words and wonder what that was all about. In spite of my inability to comprehend them, I would fall in love with the mystery and beauty of it. And I have stayed in love ever since.

Continue reading “The Power of Words”

Falling in love with the journey

ALERT! I may get philosophical at places. Hey, I’m back to blogging after a long long break. What do you expect? πŸ˜‰

After a fairly long time, I had the chance to travel by train last week. If my memory serves me right, this is my first train journey alone. There was another time when I traveled alone but I chanced upon a neighbor from my town and he was in the same compartment “watching over” me, so that doesn’t count.

I don’t actually prefer traveling long hours by a AC bus/train. I’m the “open the windows, let the wind blast your face, don’t mind the hair getting tangled” kind of a person. Stuffy AC spaces are not my thing. But unfortunately, due to ticket unavailability, I had to book a seat in the AC compartment. Little did I know that I was going to have an amazing journey nevertheless.

By the time I boarded, it was lights out. Everyone else in the compartment had climbed into their berths and were asleep. It was 09:15 pm and for a night owl like me, that’s like the start of the day πŸ˜€ My phone’s battery was running out of charge and the socket in the compartment was already in use, so decided I’ll just step out and plug it in the common one they have near the doorway.

So I walked to the door, kept it open and started enjoying the rush of wind hitting my face and of course checking texts on the charging phone. The TTE was nearby and struck up a conversation with me. This went on for sometime after which he put his game face on and was determined to clear level 271 of Candy Crush. πŸ˜€

I stood there for more than an hour. When I travel with my parents, standing near the door was a strict no no. Here I was, relishing every second of my time there, grateful for the solitude, because at times, that’s exactly what you need. I had conversations with random people. I watched as people stared into the mirror. And sometimes just blinked into space.

As moments ticked away, I realized I was falling.

Falling in love.

Continue reading “Falling in love with the journey”

4 Things only Nocturnal Beings could relate to

If you are a morning person, let me tell you, none of this is going to make sense to you! πŸ˜€ For a night owl, on the other hand, this is going to be 178 seconds of bliss! I however encourage you early birds to read on- come see our world and see all that you are missing πŸ˜‰

If you sleep anytime after 12 am on a regular basis, you must have been preached enough number of times as to why it is such an unhealthy habit and why you should change your sleep pattern asap. Fine. But let’s just put all of that aside and for a few minutes celebrate the wonderfulness that the nocturnal beings get to experience every day night.

My sentiments exactly.
My sentiments exactly.

The Birdie myth

Of some of the experiences early risers boast of getting, the most common one is how they wake up at the crack of dawn and hear the first chirping of the birds. Oh my bird! Those are lies, please don’t believe them. Birds start chirping at 2 am-ishΒ and we are the ones who get to hear them first everyday!! I’m no ornithologist, so I don’t really know a bird’s biological clock. For me, technically, a day starts at 12 am and 2 am comes before 6 am, so yay!! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€

Continue reading “4 Things only Nocturnal Beings could relate to”

Eleven-Part 2

A month ago, dryyellowsoul from creativenerd was kind enough to nominate me for the Liebster award. Sadly, I decided not to do awards sometime ago but the challenge was too interesting to pass up! πŸ˜‰ The task is to state eleven random facts about myself and also answer eleven questions that the blogger has framed. I also remember doing the same challenge three years ago, so I’m naming this part 2 πŸ˜‰ You can find the part 1 here.

Now onto 11 random things about myself.

1. I talk. A lot. I’m a HUGE talker. Especially after I get to know you, there is no stopping me πŸ˜€ Not serious stuff though, I tend to bend towards the lighter side. So I talk loads and laugh hard!

2. I like to be addressed by my name. That is, I like “Thank you, Pearlyn” better than “Thank you”. I feel it is even better than “Thank you dear” or “Thank you ma”. (ma is a term of endearment in our local language)

Continue reading “Eleven-Part 2”

Reaching Out

Several movies have been staying in the “Movies” folder of my laptop for a long long time but I haven’t gotten around to watching them. Finally I watched a few of them the past week of which two have touched me enough to share them with you!

The first one is a Malayalam movie. For those of you out of India, Malayalam is a South Indian regional language spoken widely in the state of Kerala. Now for a little tidbit, there are as many as 122 major languages and 1599 other languages in India.(Source: Wikipedia) Can you even believe that?! In a single country!!

Continue reading “Reaching Out”

The girl with a red lunch bag

A couple of days ago a friend handed her diary over to me. Not just any diary, a farewell diary. And that’s the sign-another farewell is round the corner. Time for some more goodbyes, some more tears, some more sighs and a whole new journey.

“Class of 2015”

In another month and a half, it’ll be time to say goodbye to the undergrad days, and for the most of us who have no plans of higher education, it’ll be closing of the curtains on student days.

The clock is ticking away.
The clock is ticking away.

Continue reading “The girl with a red lunch bag”