Thursday, December 27, 2007

To hell and back - The 2004 Tsunami Part 3

It looked like the water was less violent by then. Everyone except me went back to the room to try and salvage what was left.

All this while, we were thinking that this was something very local, something confined to this resort, something that was at the most confined to a kilometer around where we were.

We had no inkling that this was one of the worst natural disasters to have hit mankind.

The resort staff was in total disarray. People were shocked. No one knew what had happened. The gushes of water and the receding continued but with a much lesser force. We went to the resort owner's cottage and kept our stuff on the 1st floor and went and sat on the terrace unsure of what would happen next.

After a while, Pushkar and Venkateshwar went down to try and assess the situation and decide on what to do next.

They came back after a while and told us that our taxi driver had parked the car on a road that was high enough for the water to reach. We decided that we would go to the car and head back to Chennai.

In the meantime, we slowly learned that similar incidents had happened in Chennai too but the main city was safe.

We went down and took our stuff and walked towards the exit of the resort. To do this we had to actually almost swim across a large pool of water that had collected between the road and our side of the resort.

We finally got into the car and started out. We were advised by the locals to take the old Mahabalipuram road since parts of the new one were inundated.

On the way we saw a lot of panicky people.

We reached the city of Chennai in a few hours. On the way we called our folks at home and told them we were safe. We drove straight to Apollo Hospital where there were no signs of anyone knowing what had just happened. A couple of relatives came there. We got first aid at the casualty ward, had some food at a restaurant and then went to a relative's house. There, during the course of the day, through the television news reports I came to know the magnitude of the damage that had been caused in so many places.

I took the evening flight to Hyderabad exactly a day after I started out. Those 24 hours were probably the most eventful I would ever have had.

Epilogue

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