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Encounters with the rains

In this handout photograph taken and released by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) on August 9, 2019, NDRF personnel carry an elderly woman stranded in flood waters after heavy rains on the outskirts of Sangli in Maharashtra state.   | Photo Credit: AFP

At the age of eight, I was not ready to believe the school lesson that said Cherrapunji was the wettest place in India. I was studying in Chennai, where playing in the rain, we students used to get fully drenched. So how could this remote place in Meghalaya be the wettest?

The rains have piqued my fascination after my studies too. In 1959, my wife and I were living in my office quarters in Jamshedpur with the Subarnarekha river just across the road. Such a lovely sight it was.

But one morning in September, the river was not to be seen. The whole area and the road bridge was under a sheet of water. We were the only two individuals who had slept the previous night. Others were anxiously watching the river rise. But can we stop a flood if it decides to come in our direction?

Again, in 1997, we were in Delhi when we decided to make an overnight journey to Jaipur to visit my daughter and husband. On a fine sunny day, all of us headed to the Amer fort. We spent about three hours sightseeing and were tired. To return home, we got on to a taxi. Barely half way, we faced very heavy rain and the driver stopped the vehicle. There was knee-deep water, and it was difficult to drive safely.

We then decided to walk to our house. That was when we encountered another problem. The doors of the Ambassador car could not be opened as water had risen by about 3 feet. We were even scared to step out.

Finally, when we opened the doors, water gushed into the car. Four or five persons came to help us get down from the taxi and carried us one by one to a shop which was dry. We thanked them for their help. The next morning, we found from the newspaper that such a flood had happened in the area after 60 years.

My wife and daughter still wonder how and why this downpour happened in a place like Jaipur where rain is scarce. Now when I tell friends about this downpour, they do not believe me.

Now, living in flood-battered Pune, my wife and I pray that we have had enough rain now and please send it to parched Chennai.

hemram1229@gmail.com

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2020 3:44:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/encounters-with-the-rains/article28977726.ece

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