As I am putting this column together, a meet-up of city-based bloggers is under way at the Madras Literary Society in Nungambakkam. On the eve of the second anniversary of the 2015 floods — popularly known as the December Deluge — they are revisiting the cataclysm. All members of the Chennai Bloggers Club, they have already written stories about it. On the first anniversary of the Deluge, these stories saw the light in a physical book, After The Floods .
With the afore-mentioned meet-up as the backdrop, I am going to plant an idea in the minds of people living on the IT Corridor, especially software professionals. When this column sees the light two days from now, it will be November 27, which still leaves us with enough time before the second anniversary to organise a meet-up just for the IT Corridor.
For, I believe software professionals and others on the IT Corridor have memories of the Deluge that may constitute a different category of flood experiences. The IT Corridor region is dotted with many lakes. During the floods, may of these broke their bunds, causing considerable inundation. Perumbakkam and the nearby Sholinganallur IT Special Economic Zone suffered on account of this. On YouTube, you will come across many videos presenting the extent to which the Sholinganallur IT SEZ was affected by the Deluge.
Talking to representatives of the IT industry, I have learnt that the floods served as an ice-breaker between the top managements of companies on the Corridor. They had to consult each other on possible courses of action, and the bond forged during the crisis continues to outlive it. And then, the software companies realised the importance of establishing a connection with civic authorities and elected representatives in the region. As the problem was rooted in the region’s geography, they knew they had to be guided by those who were familiar with it.
Residents, including IT professionals, will have personal experiences of the floods to share. In fact, I also have a story to tell. As Perumbakkam and much of the road from Sholinganallur to Medavakkam were submerged in floodwaters, and sections of the Thoraipakkam-Pallavaram Radial Road were heavily inundated too, I experienced nerve-wracking separation from my family. They were stranded at a house on the Tambaram-Velachery Road, and I was in Sholinganallur, biting my nails. During the floods, people connected over WhatsApp, but our mobiles had gone dry.
So, there was no option other than to brave the floodwaters. And I did, in a small car with as much ground clearance as a dachshund. I drove down the Radial Road with a prayer on my lips, and I made it.
There are certainly better stories than this that others have to tell. And the time to tell them is now.
Besides highlighting the resilience of the residents of the IT Corridor, these stories, if documented, can form the basis of a manual for anticipating and dealing with problems of an inclement and an unpredictable monsoon.