Tag Archive | vizag

Hudhud and later

A number of catastrophes seem to be happening one after the other. The floods in Jammu and Kashmir, the floods in North-east and now Hudhud in Andhra and Odisha. Yes last one has affected me the most.

Why? Because it is in Vizag that my parents live. It is in Vizag that my brother and his family lives. It is Vizag that has been my ‘land’ for the last 20 years or so.

To tell you the truth I came to know about the impending cyclone only on Saturday Morning. And I called up my mother. ‘Are you all set for the storm’, I asked.

‘Yes’, she said, ‘Children have been given a holiday, we have stocked up on essentials’.

‘Get some extra milk packets, store some water, charge up your mobiles’, I said. ‘And in all probability the cyclone will just pass away with a whimper because every one is so prepared’, I joked.

Vizag is used to thunderstorms. It does not have any ‘rainy season’ as such and there is rain usually when there is a depression in the Bay of Bengal. The intensity of the situation did not hit either me or her.

And then till Monday evening, there was no news absolutely. Scared, anxious, I sat online surfing through news, afraid to read the obvious.

Until I got a whatsapp from my sister they are safe.

I started breathing again. The glass doors had been unhinged. There was no power (still there isn’t). Water they have because they arranged diesel somehow and operate the generator now and then to pump the water up. Their two wheelers are damaged. Milk is scarce. But the important thing is they are safe and together.

But the city is devastated. The steel township which has been our lifeline has become a skeleton. The thick vegetation which surrounded it is no more. The Steel plant itself has suffered badly and if it does not start operations soon, will be a burden on the economy.

What is heartening to see is that so many voluntary organisations working on the scene. And so many others too. Residents who for once have stopped cribbing and started lending a hand, people have come out of their cocoons to strategize on finding out ways to come out of the situation.

Yes there are black marketeers, there are people who want to make a fast buck but today at least the people doing good far outweigh those who are selfish.

But then the thought comes to my mind who has to be blamed for such catastrophes, man, God who.

It is said that there are three-fold miseries of our lives adhi daivik (divine-problems caused by external forces) , adhyatmik (problems caused by self on the mental platform) and adhi bhautik (problems caused on the material plane, physical). And I am confused as to whether this is adhi daivik or adhi bhautik?

Why??

Isn’t it we who have destroyed our forest covers

Isn’t it we who have digged into earth incessantly?

Isn’t it we who are building so many structures? Often competing with each other in terms of how high my building is or how many buildings/ flats do I own.

In Bahrain we have witnesses so many landfilling exercises. So many areas have sprung up where there was previously the Sea. I am sure if we compare the picture of Bahrain 30  years back and the present, there will be no similarity at all. Doesn’t all this constitute an ecological imbalance.

So is this an adhidaivik vipada or an adhibhautik? Is this a misery caused by some external force or man made…..who knows? And does anyone care?

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Holiday Chronicles-I

Pappa and me started from home by walk. Andhra was sizzling. The cry of Samaiyaka Andhra (United Andhra) could be heard everywhere. Shops were closed. But we had important stuff to do. Pappa had to go to bank. I had to go to the post office to get some postal covers to send choodi. ( for details on choodi click here).

It was a pleasant day. The sun had decided to be merciful. And so we walked. The bank was open, he submitted his cheque and we waited. The staff gave a cheerful smile which was totally against the mood outside. And whats more the cheque was encashed and the passbook updated in a jiffy.

And we proceeded to the post office. Walking slowly reminiscing about past times, about the present and planning for the coming days, We walked and I had a suspicion that we had had missed the way. I saw three boys cycling on the other side and so I crossed over and asked them the way. ‘Straight akka, it is still further’, one said. I crossed again to be with pappa.

We resumed our walk when we saw the boys cross to our side. One of them said, ‘Do you see the coconut tree?’

I said yes.

‘Well, the post office is there’.

I gave a thank you smile.

We walked further to see the three gentlemen waiting for us near the post office.

My heart swelled with pride at the three boys. Rest of Andhra might be burning but these three were determined to show the way to an old man and his daughter.

On our return we walked lost in our own conversation and evidently lost our way. A  biker on our inquiry told us that we had come quite far. And so we took a shared auto as to walk some more was difficult. As soon as we sat inside the auto, it started raining…. heavily.

The auto driver took us further from our stop to a place where we could get some shelter.

We paid him and ran towards a shop.

One look at my father and the shopkeeper gave him a chair to sit. My father would not sit without his daughter getting a chair too. And out came another chair. And so we sat till the rain stopped.

I had been upset about this division of state, the power politics. But people that day reiterated my faith in humanity. Thank you Vizagites, more so to the people of Kurmanapalem.

Travel Tales III

I was studying in First Year B.Com at Mysore. Dussehra holidays were about to begin and I was very excited. It was the first time I would be visiting Vizag, my brother was working there and it was the first time I would be commanding him to pay my bills 🙂

Since it was the first time I was traveling to Vizag, My father came to accompany me, we went to Vizag had a glorious time. I was fascinated by the beaches of Vizag, the shopping, the food everything.

My father again accompanied me on the return and the whole time he would give me tutorials of which stations were on the way, the local dialect, how to handle people etc because the next time onwards I was supposed to travel alone.

SO it was fun until we reached Bangarpet. Now Bangarpet is the first stop in Karnataka and is about 71 km from Bangalore. We were supposed to board another train to Mysore from Bangalore. But the train remained stationed in Bangarpet. Afer about 2 hours, there was an announcement that because a train had derailed somewhere ahead, so this train would not continue till Bangalore but for the convenience of the passengers some buses were arranged, which would in sometime reach the station.

It was already 9p.m. There was panic, no food or water. Somehow people managed to collect their bags and make a queue.

There was a girl in her 20s who was working in Bangalore coming from Kolkata who had about 12 bags and not a porter in sight. No one came to help her either. We went and stood in queue. My father made me stand there and returned to pick her bags, then I went and brought some bags and so on until all her bags were in the queue.

But when the buses arrived, there was no queue to be seen. People just pushed and shoved to get a seat. We along with the girl finally managed to get seats in the last bus.

We reached Bangalore Railway station around 2.30 a.m and went and sat in the waiting room. We were thirsty and hungry but there was nothing to be had, We managed the night on some peanuts which my father always carries when he travels. The cafeteria opened at 5 a.m after which we had some food and boarded a train to Mysore.

Needless to say I was never allowed to travel alone in that route. Papa always said that what will you do if something like that happens again and nobody comes to help you, the way it happened with the girl.

Are you curious to know about the girl?

Well the girl got down from the bus, as soon as the bus entered Bangalore without even a Bye or a Thank you.

Travel Tales II

I looked around me, a middle aged Gujarati couple, two bachelors and me. I was happy. The presence of the couple gave me lot of comfort.

I was seated in the Konark Express bound for Mumbai. I had an interview scheduled and I was traveling alone by sleeper class. Though my father was never comfortable with me traveling alone but then I had made him remain at home. If I wanted an independent life, I had to learn to travel alone.Way back in the late 90s, private airlines were just an IDEA. And there was no reason to fear, as such I was not so pretty that anyone would try to molest me and even if anyone tried, I had my knife and chilly powder. 😛

A guy snored from the top of the berth and I yawned but we had to wait till the TTE arrived. We adjusted our luggage.Though traveling alone, I had a lot of luggage. Amma always had something to send to her other daughter in Mumbai and I was the willing porter. Meanwhile the Gujju anunty requested me to take the middle berth and I agreed and after the TTE left, we slept.

Morning we all settled down to our routines. The couple chatting, the two men with a game of cards and me with a book. Sometime later the couple opened their tiffin box. It was big and round and obviously had a lot of goodies. She opened one box and asked me to take but I declined. Gone were the days when co-passengers shared their food, now is the time when we worry that the food may be drugged.

And I took out my parcel of idli-chutney. But the aroma…the aroma of fafdas and dhoklas and green chutney was such that the bachelors left their seat and went somewhere and me…even with my breakfast of idlis was unsatisfied.

I tell you the aroma of food can make you quite frustrated.

After sometime the people in the side berths left their seat and a Bengali couple took their place. Lunch time, the Bengalis took out their dabba and the Gujaratis theirs. There was such a medley of aromas of luchis, curries, mishti doi and puri, aloo subji, and what not that my vegetable biryani looked bland.

Dinner was an assault I tell you. Gone was my determination of succeeding in the interview, gone was the joy of meeting my sis, at that point I just wanted a hot delicious meal.

The train reached Mumbai the next morning at 3.30 a.m.  My Bhavaji (brother-in-law) was waiting for me. I knew my sister must be fast asleep, she gets hyper-acidity if she wakes up early and knew that my hunger pangs would not let me in peace. I asked, ‘Can we get anything to eat?’

He smiled and asked,’Will a vada pav do?’

‘Absolutely’, I cried out and we rushed to have one.