Chennai’s cyclone Nivar, captured in photographs

The city of Chennai has just weathered Cyclone Nivar, which made landfall near Puducherry at 11.30 pm on November 25, and lasted until 2.30 am on November 26. For the past couple of days, Chennai residents have been taking to social media with shots of the city, sea and sky, capturing the brooding grey and blue colours of a brewing storm. Here, they send us their favourite photographs and the stories behind them.

The city in all its glory: Madras Photo Bloggers founder Srivatsan Sankaran flew a drone from his Mylapore terrace on November 24 to capture the dramatic sky as the storm was still brewing. “I used a DJI Mavic Air, which does not require any licensing. I love capturing moments during rainfall,” says Srivatsan, who had tried doing so during cyclone Vardah too. “Vardah was very destructive and I could not record anything then. Fortunately, this year was better.” Photo: Srivatsan Sankaran
Surviving the night: On a regular night the dogs in Valmiki Nagar would have held a howling concert, but on the night of November 25, it was the wind that did all the howling. The afternoon before cyclone Nivar made landfall, photographer Gayatri Nair, headed out for a walk near her house in Thiruvanmiyur to feed kibble to the street dogs in that area. “I was worried if they would survive the cyclone,” says Gayatri. “There is a boat here that has been left on the sands for a year now and nobody seems to be using it. The dogs must have tucked themselves under it for the night.” She visited them again on the morning of November 26. “They are a bit wet but they are alright, they are alright.” Photo: Gayatri Nair
Life still goes on: Late evening on November 25, Soma Suraj and his friends met over hot tea and snacks in Velachery. However, it started pouring hard and Suraj was stuck inside the teashop, waiting for the rains to subside. That is when he noticed a van trawling towards the Aavin booth opposite him. “The van was carrying milk packets and was refrigerated. When the men opened the van door, an icy fog escaped it. It was already cold outside, and the man was shuffling from the air conditioned van to the booth in the rain, unloading milk packets. I was moved by how hard they were working,” he says. Photo: Soma Suraj
Humbling waves: “The magnitude of waves behind the fishermen was so scary,” says Jyotsna Prithi R, who had been strolling across Besant Nagar at 3 pm on November 25. “The sea was really rough, and if I am not wrong, these were the last batch of fishermen, who were taking their nets back to their homes in the hamlet near Broken Bridge.” Photo: Jyotsna Prithi R
In their own world: In the afternoon of November 25, Arivannal Vajjiravelan of Chennai Photowalk noticed the water level rising in Padmanabha Nagar, Choolaimedu and went out to document it, the fear of 2015 floods still fresh in mind. “That year, the water level rose to two-and-a-half feet, and yesterday, it was already rising up to one-and-a-half feet,” says Arivannal. But in the middle of this serious documentation, he stumbled upon three children splashing about in the rain. “These two boys and one girl had only one umbrella, and they were (playfully) arguing over who would get to hold it. Meanwhile, the elders around them were walking by quickly to get home. It is like the children were in a world of their own,” he says. Photo: Arivannal Vajjiravelan
Coffee and rain: As the patter of raindrops outside Yamini Vijayraj’s balcony grew louder, she sat watching them, a steaming cup of coffee in hand. This picture was the result. “The rain was lashing all morning and I was upset that I could not go out. Throughout this year, my balcony and my terrace have been my only refuge to click pictures,” she says. Photo: Yamini Vijayraj
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