Sub —— EYE OF STORM — CYCLONE HUD HUD
Rajeev Gandhi Memorial on Beach road
11th October was being celebrated as KARBA CHAUTH (a new element to RENEW bonding between wife and husband being heavily propagated by TV SERIAL all over India). Though there was a threat of CYCLONE “ hud Hud” over Vizag, most of us ignored it as,( in previous occasions of such alarm ) we had to cut a sorry figure in narrating our absolutely “TROUBLE FREE “life and faced difficulty in describing a few millimeter rise of WAVE in the sea.
Our flat is located on the second row of apartments from beach road.
At about 6 PM , I informed my anxious son and daughter ( Mumbai and Delhi ) that there was a clear sky with visible moon for Karba chauth calibration . They laughed but CAUTIONED US not to take things lightly and KEEP PROVISIONS and SUFFICIENT WATER stored . WE had earlier stored WATER in all available buckets, drums, tubs and extra utensils . Drinking water for two days was also stored. Cereals and Vegetables especially Potato and ONION could pull us through 4 days. NOT BAD precaution I thought.
As usual we completed our dinner by 7-30 PM ( this we are following since last one year ) while watching our fixed TV program and news item . At 8-30 , I opened my Laptop to continue my HABITUAL routine of going through E- mails ,friends comment and my comments on breaking news etc till 10 PM before retiring to bed . By this time there had been a sea change in atmospheric condition with high wind speed and DRIZZLE . I closed the DOOR and Windows of bedroom and started the A/C FAN in addition to the ceiling fan for better circulation of fresh air before going to bed , INDU ( my wife ) was still in her TV SERIAL MOOD .Suddenly at about 10 30 PM the Ceiling fan stopped but Ac fan remained on . TV went off. On checking the power points I found that only One phase was working . As the intensity of cyclonic storm increased INDU asked me to secure the doors and windows of other rooms which I did with additional precaution of tightening the Windows with ROPE to the Grill . At 11 PM complete POWER went off. The generator of our Apartment started by the watchman ( every flat has only THREE POINTS —Two fans and One light ) . Amidst heavy noisy sound of STORM and rain we slept (this type of situation is not very abnormal during rainy season). At about 2 PM as I stepped down from bed to empty my bladder , I felt pool of water on the floor of bed room (entered through the DOOR facing Balcony) . I noticed similar condition in Drawing Room where rain water was entering through front door. The second bed room however not affected. Since nothing could be done, I retired. I woke up at 5 AM ( daily habit to prepare myself for morning walk ) prepared two cups of LEMON TEA for us ,( Due to heavy wind blowing through the Ventilated KITCHEN GLASS pane , it was difficult to keep the gas burner on . I laid a small low table and placed the burner protected by kitchen platforms.) As I completed my refreshing activities, Indu woke up by 6 AM and got alarmed by the situation as VELOCITY OF WIND became too high with more penetration of rain water. I thought of sending message through face book to keep my friends and family members reassured about our safety . By now we started receiving calls from son (RAJA) and daughter (SOMA) expressing their anxiety as they watched the devastation taking place at VIZAG through TV. We assured them every time they called thereafter . Observing rattling of DOORS and more water flow, I thought of placing / fixing POLYTHENE SHEET on the door (outside) with nails. WITH great difficulty, we PARTIALLY MANAGED to fix the polythene and checked the water flow. TO arrest the rattling of door , I searched out some WOODEN PLANKS and started FIXING the same ACROSS THE DOOR FRAME FROM INSIDE at few places . We LOCKED the FRONT DOOR also as additional safety. Suddenly on hearing a heavy KNOCK at front door, as I removed the planks and partially opened the door , I was literally pushed back by WIND PRESSURE . I found our MILKMAN with TWO PACKETS of MILK for delivery. THANIKING HIM , I called INDU and with the help of MILKMAN from outside , we managed to close the door and secured it with WOODEN PLANKS . The FEROSITY of CYCLONE was ENORMUS , even the window pane started rattling. The continuous sound of BROKEN GLASS PANES and STRUCTURES FROM OUTSIDE became frightening. However to stop the rattling I started INSERTING SOFT SPONGE / FOAM pieces in all places to cushion the impact . MY Son informed that LANDFALL at VIZAG has STARTED. WHAT IS LAND FALL??? I mistook the terminology to mean FALLING of land into the sea / ADVANCEMENT of SEA — my god. NOT REALLY. , RAJA explained that LAND FALL IS THE TERM used to indicate the CYCLONE has hit the LAND i.e. VIZAG. SOMA worriedly gave us feedback of devastation taking place. We left things to destiny.
Feeling EXHAUSTED we lied on bed. Suddenly I felt some shaking /vibration of bed , thinking it to be nervousness , I ignored. After some time INDU also reported same feeling. Fearing collapse of building , she hurriedly brought her personal SIDE BAG with ATM and other important cards and kept it beside my bag and changed her dress -Night gown to KURTA –PAJAMA . But where to GO? From Raja’s talk we presumed, he has already alerted his friends at Naval base (VIZAG) about our location for assistance if needed. With LOW battery level we stopped using Mobile.
At about 12 PM suddenly everything stopped with eerie calmness . We were RELIEVED to think that DANGER AVERTED. As I was going to open the doors and start removing water from floor , MY son warned me to be ready for another attack . THIS PERIOD IS called — EYE OF STORM — THE CENTRER OF CYCLONE — CALMNESS. THE total duration of cyclone was like 24 hours DAY-NIGHT cricket matches with one hour lunch break in between two innings. Out of curiosity we opened the Balcony door and OBSERVED the DEVASTATION CAUSED with TREES and ELECTRIC POLE UPROOTED. We hurriedly completed our LUNCH with BREAD, Butter, BOILED EGG , SALAD followed by CURD.
AT 1 PM the second innings started and promptly OVERTOOK THE REROCITY OF first innings. FORTUNATELTELY for us , our FLAT remain PROTECTED being SANDWITHCED between two adjacent flats. THESE times the CYCLONE DIRECTION got completely REVERSED. EARLIER it was BLOWING from NORTH-EAST DIREDCTION curving inside ( like INSWING ), now it is from SOUTH – WEST Bringing SANDS from sea shore across the FACE OF OUR BALCONY ( like out swing) WE COULD STAND IN OUR BALCONY and VISUALISE THE DESTRUCTION. We saw family members of flats facing ours (across the road) were in distress in saving their GLASS PANNLED doors and windows. WITH wind speed around 210 Km h it was an impossible proposition . One by one all GLASS PANES CRUMBLED , ALUMINIUM STRUCTURE TWISTED and BLOWN OUT . DISK ANTENNA uprooted and carried away. ELECTRIC POLES. TRESS , TOWERS, STEEL HORDING BOADRS CRUMBLING and causing more damage to the adjacent buildings. ROADS were BLOCKED . All CARS parked OUTSIDE got damaged with glass panes broken and body DENTED . NET WORK COMMUNICATION DEAD. VIZAC GOT DISCONNECTED. By evening the intensity started slowing down and nearly calmed down by 10 PM… 24 hours of destruction paralyzed the CITY life VIRTICALLY and HORIZONALLY. We prepared easily cooked and DIGESTABLE KHIRI ( MIXED cooked food of Rice- DAL (lentil) and vegetables ). Potato chips used as incentive. DOGGED TIRED we slept under GENERATOR POWER BACKED CEILING FAN .
Next day we spent 3 hours in cleaning our rooms , prepared light BRANCH , got freshen and ventured out to see the DAMAGE. Caused. Most of the ROADS blocked by uprooted trees, electric poles. Heartening to see residents of each locality (6 year to 60 years ) were busy in removing trees to clear road blocks . MAD RUSH in few operating PETROL PUMPS as 60 out of 75 stations remains unserviceable. All shops closed. NO WARER , NO power, No transport. The CM of AP landed in the TOTALLY DAMGED AIRPORT and took control of the situation from circuit house . FOR NEXT 4-5 days activities by various agencies and national disaster management teams transformed Vizag into a VIRTUAL ICU . OUR APARTMENT management did a wonderful job in rationing water and Generator backed power supply to the extent possible ( SATISFACTORY) for continuous 6 days , till NEW ELECTRIC POLES in our area got erected with overhead wire laid and connected to service station . BEING in the area of importance (VVIPS) visiting places , we were privileged to get things Okayed within 6 days. Mobile connectivity also got attended within 3days though with frequent interruptions. My TV antenna had to be replaced by new one.
As things stands now , the scenic beauty of tourist friendly GREEN VIZAG is GONE . All beautiful gorgeous attractive malls, monuments. Parks , beaches, decorative structures, ZOO damaged beyond recognition / restoration. It will take at least 6 months to clear the debris accumulated. Big industrial houses started thinking about the feasibility of restarting / investing in their proposed business. VIZAGITES are SHAKEN .