25th May 2009
Started with rain. Hurricane Aila about to lash the city in 24 hours the papers screamed. And Aila just took 4 hours to come to town. And I have not seen anything like this before. An experience on Byepass road just a few days back forced me to stay indoors out of, Im not ashamed to say, fear. (I was stuck just a week back during a Norwester on the byepass.)
I watched the cyclone hit from the second floor verandah with a baby bulbul and a very drenched crow for company, and I should say, it was one of the most fear inducing experiences I have had. Especially that huge sky-kissing coconut tree I could see in the distance, it was like some wild haired hag on a crazed tandav dance. I didnt think it would survive the storm. It did. Coconut trees usually do. The huge flowering champa tree next door, however, didnt make it. We had some casualties in a few mangoes, a jackfruit which fell and broke the asbestos roofing of the shed, and leaf strewn lawn, and the tank cover that blew away.
The actual storm started at about 11 am and lasted well into the afternoon. Then about 3.30 pm a red alert was sounded. The main storm with winds at 100 kmph was about to hit after 4 pm. Offices cleared out in a jiffy. Phone calls to and fro to everyone one knew to tell them what people already had heard. STAY INDOORS.
That big one didnt hit. News said its crashed on Haldia, some say Orissa coast. But it spared us, if it still can be termed sparing. After a couple of cases of electrocution on the roads, due to fallen lamp posts, the power was switched off through this part of the city, Tollygunj. Our power went at about 2 pm.
The latest- 80 trees down, thats the last count some minutes back. Just 10 on Harish Mukherjee Road. Most roads still closed to traffic. 9 dead in the city, many from trees falling on cars and autos. The whole city ravaged. Byepass, my favourite road, clogged.
Only now at 7.30 pm the power has been resumed. The worst, as they say, is over. The rain continues and is bound to for the next two days, says the MET dept. Thats ok. We need some rain. And with the roads no longer getting water logged, the rain is welcome.