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..