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Am a contradiction of sorts. i love going out and having a good time with friends, and i can also stay home chill out over a book or a movie.. Am very passionate about writing, so give me a topic and watch me float away into wonderland... I Am crazy about music,books,friends and my doggie... :)

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Dear Diary, memories linger

Dear Diary

I know, I know, this year too is drawing to an end and today is the last day... Gosh, where did the time go? Everyday was quite difficult, challenging, painful even and now all I am left with are memories...



Today while on the road, the cab had a pic of Velankanni Mother and that brought back so many memories. I realised I should send them a cheque and a letter, maybe even mention Thatha's passing away. If there was one God he believed in outside of our Hindu Gods, it was to the Mother. An incident changed his belief decades ago and since then overtime someone would fall ill, go through a big transition, he would instantly and silently send a cheque and a letter seeking blessings.  The letter was scribbled on his letterpad and put in an envelope that had a stamp on it and shipped out. Few days later he would receive an envelope from Velankani with a Mother's Photo and a letter saying his request has been placed at the Mother's feet and wishes were with him. 

Sigh.. in another month it would be a year since he left us.. Everytime I walk into the front room, I half wait for him to come out in his veshti smelling of viboodi with a big smile on his face asking me if i wanted anything. There would be times when he would come give me money and say "keep it, you keep spending for the house". And then there would be times when I would be working or on the phone and he would barge in and say something, oblivious to what I was doing.. Yes, there were times that were frustrating cos he dint understand boundaries and space, but then  now I actually miss them. we would be at logger heads more often than not, there would be verbal battles, arguments, disagreements but at the end of the day none of it mattered. 

Whenever I travelled, gramma would call daily to ask how I was doing. And when I come back, she would be like "your thatha kept saying the house is too quiet".. 

What a difference a single person makes.... 

OK, ok, signing off before I go all teary eyed and melt in a puddle.. Well, here's hoping 2016 is better, and brings forth many new challenges and ventures... 

See you soon
Adios
Me

Saturday, December 19, 2015

When the going gets tough, the tough gets going…Chennai floods -III

When the going gets tough, the tough gets going…Chennai floods -I

When the going gets tough, the tough gets going…Chennai floods -II


As mentioned in both these posts, I relied heavily towards the Online world during the recent floods.. There was no news that was right or accurate elsewhere... Here is an article I wrote for DNA based on the same..

Next time someone tells me “you are spending too much time online” I shall give them OTS [one tight slap]. Why? Well, that is how awesome the online world has been the past few weeks. When the rains hit Chennai late November, I was following the action across the city via Twitter and then I discovered the forums on Facebook- Tamilnadu Flood- Support and Chennai Rains relief group. Soon after I found #chennairains and #chennairainshelp on Twitter. I live in Chetpet, an area that wasn’t too affected, so after I was done making sure our household help were taken of, I headed out to buy some pedigree, biscuits and bread and fed every possible stray that I found. I have also been leaving food and milk out daily, a couple of times along the streets in my area. I sent out about 20kg bags of rice, and 40 kgs of dal to a relief camp yesterday. For the dogs, I sent out bread, food, bowls, newspapers as well..
On the second day, I began connecting people who had relief materials with those in need, helping update the Google doc that had been put together and that is how the ball rolled. Teamed up with a best friend, Radha Srinivasan and her husband Jaishankar, we put a plan to collect material from all over the city and head out to see who needed what. Twitter was a big help in this. We tracked, we hunted and we went out into knee-deep water to give people basic necessities, food and everything else we thought they needed- clothes, medicines (especially for fever, headaches and Cybol for fungal infections), blankets, mats, juices, milks (tetra pack), water and soaps as well. 
Day before yesterday, we loaded their Ertiga with these items - 300 packets of food, equal number of water, some clothes, medicines and headed out towards the OMR area. There we found the Fathima Child welfare centre- with about 100 kids, and gave them water. A kid from one centre took us to their two other shelters, where we distributed more stuff. On a whim, we decided to drive down and find more places to help. We found Tsunami colony [road opp TCS], Chemmenenchery and gave out nearly 300 packets of biscuits, water and food packets. We also nearly got mobbed there, but managed to survive. We heard later that there were nearly 20,000 people inside and that some hadn’t received any relief. So we put a team together. 
Article source: http://www.dnaindia.com/india/comment-chennai-rains-how-the-social-media-helped-chennaites-reach-out-to-people-in-distress-2153424

Thursday, December 17, 2015

When the going gets tough, the tough gets going…Chennai floods -II

I did what I knew best.. took to the online world, which is where I got all information from and where requests/updated flowed faster than the #Chennairains.. 

I began sharing updates, images and videos from home and around... But the one thing I stayed away from was sharing pictures of people receiving relief. Now, this is something I don't understand.. People want to see others come begging for relief/for help.. what kind of sadistic pleasure do you get by that is something that beats me!  Yes, we did have a few donors ask for photographs as proof of their funds being rightfully used, but here too we clicked pictures only of relief material, the lorry and things like that. It was never of people actually receiving them.. We have no idea what they are going through, what has driven them to literally putting their arms out and begging for things. So, it is not right to take pictures of them taking the materials. 

During one relief distribution outing to Tsunami Colony, Chemmenchery, I was chit chatting with a people around there. A girl looked at and said "akka, ethavathu velai irundha sollunga". I then asked her "have you worked somewhere, what have you done?" And she replied "we have completed Bcom and are stuck here". They used to live in Perambur, but their house burnt down and the Government relocated them here to the houses in this colony... Felt so helpless and depressed.  This is just one story... there are so many... Shall share them in coming posts..just to give you an idea of what the floods did to the amazing folks in our city... 

Here are a few posts I shared on Instagram...









Sunday, December 13, 2015

When the going gets tough, the tough gets going…Chennai floods -I

When the going gets tough, the tough gets going…

Well this is a song I love and true to the lyrics, I saw the city of Chennai come together during the recent rains. I know a lot has been written and said about this deluge... But I wanted to do a series on my blog where I share my personal experiences. This blog was born few days ago, but have been overwhelmed and just unable to get to it... 






Had it been a few years ago, I would have just stayed at home, and enjoyed the rains, worried about power cuts and whether stores would be open…  But now I realised I have changed. I was restless from Day 1, I was online checking on updates. I discovered #chennairainshelp and #chennairains and decided to get on board, and kick into action.

I would share posts, I would verify numbers and requests, update people on what was happening and so much more. I also received tonnes of requests from others asking me to help trace their loved ones, or send relief to inundated areas. It was heart breaking. Most cases the phone lines were down, and that is when we realized Whatsapp calls worked, and I started using that mode to reach out.

Apart from these, I joined hands with few other friends who were keen on helping out. We started gathering momentum, invited volunteers, scouted for places with supplies and thus began our journey towards getting our city back on its feet.

Alongside sourcing materials for people, I began collecting food and utilities for our 4 legged friends. I began feeding the strays on my road and neighborhood. People at home were constantly wondering what kept me out even when it was pouring, but that did not stop me.. I also sent out messages to my circles, inviting donations and resources.

Today when I look back, am amazed at how people came forth instantly ready to help.. My uncle in Delhi connected me to a friend of his sending stuff from Bangalore, my other uncle in USA connected me to his friend who was doing some relief and wanted some help. And then there were cousins and friends abroad who were itching to help but did not know how. They sent me money that I used to buy materials. Best part was they did not question me on what I did with their contributions.

Another guy I had connected with on Facebook sent a message that his dad was bringing quite a bit of medicines, was old and so requested if I could have them picked up. I sent out a message and one guy from my team went and collected them.

I could go on and on… The days have rolled on, the rains have stopped, the streets have dried up [ except for a few] but we are still at it… Am still working with friends sending out relief materials, teams and information.. It has been one of the most distressing times, but glad to have contributed a teeny bit…

To be continued..