Andhra Pradesh

They reached home after a 30-hr ordeal



Their journey began with a selfie. After days of getting cooped up in their apartment, four youngsters from Tirupati decided it was time to break out of their watery prison. How about wading out of their marooned locality and hitching it all the way back home?

So the four young men, M. Nikhil, L. Rohit, Bhanu and Sharat, all recent recruits of the IT major TCS, strapped on their backpacks stuffed with essentials and set out on their mission at 10 am on Wednesday morning. After a 30-hour ordeal they reached home to relieved parents on Thursday.

Their apartment in Mettukuppam, where the IT crowd of Chennai lives, was all but marooned. Stepping out into the knee-deep water, they looked about warily for crocodiles. For a rumour had been doing the rounds on the internet that crocs had escaped from the zoo and were lurking about in the floodwaters.

Fortunately, they encountered no animal life as they inched up to the main road.

Gloomy scenario

“It was gloomy everywhere,” said L. Rohit. “We never saw so much water in Chennai, given its perennial water shortage. People everywhere were trying to get in touch with their families at home. And there was talk of more rain forecast by the met department.”

“We managed to catch a bus to the Thiruvanmiyur bus depot,” said Nikhil.

“There we found that a few local trains were still plying and we reached Chennai Central. But we were told that all trains had been cancelled because the tracks are flooded.”

The railway station was a scene of utter chaos, packed with people fleeing the deluge.

“People were begging autodrivers and taxis to take them out of Chennai somehow. We persuaded an autodriver to take us to the Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus (CMBT). He demanded Rs 700. We pooled up and paid him,” says Nikhil.

Taxi ride

At the bus terminus, the situation was similar. Some adventurous taxi drivers were offering to take people out of the city if the price was right. And the price for a taxi ride to Tirupati being quoted was Rs 12,000 one way.

Not that it guaranteed a safe trip home, for reports were coming in that the countryside beyond Chennai was also flooded, with roads cut off.

“We waited till 5 pm and then decided to board a bus to Tirupati if we could get into one,” said Nikhil. There were hundreds of others with the same idea and it wasn’t until 11 pm that the four were able to get a toehold on a bus.

The AP State Road Transport Corporation had pulled out its services and the Tamil Nadu Transport Corporation was operating a stray bus.

“The bus took on more than 100 passengers, all of them desperate to reach their native places. Everyone seemed to be bent upon reaching Tirupati regardless of where they were headed,” said Sharat. “Once in Tirupati, they would somehow make their way home.”

With every inch of standing space taken, they stood seven hours in the bus as it navigated the road to Tirupati.

By the time they made it to Tirupati, the temple town was emerging from its own spell of heavy rain.

The four young men made it home at noon on Thursday.



Four youngsters from Tirupati wads out of their marooned locality and hitching it all the way back home



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Printable version | Jun 1, 2020 11:58:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/they-reached-home-after-a-30hr-ordeal/article7946758.ece

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