{First Published in The Hindu Metroplus}

Chennai and the month of December, it would seem, just can’t seem to get along. As if the Chief Minister’s death the previous week wasn’t difficult enough, the city was hit with a storm the likes of which it hasn’t witnessed in decades. Truth be told, when news of the cyclone Vardah and its intensity were first announced the weekend before the storm hit, I was only amused. Plenty of cyclone warnings have been issued to the city over the years, and most of them have ended up travelling north and dissipating, while the rest of us enjoyed a holiday at its expense. Needless to say, my amusement quickly became mortification as the cyclone began to, quite literally, bang on our doors.

My household was, rather, is among the many neighbourhoods that has been left powerless in the wake of the storm, and mobile network connectivity is still only patchy at best. So what does a television addict watch when power and internet, the two pillars of modern TV, are decimated?

cyclone vardah
The view from our house.

I watched nature, in all her fury, bring a city down to its knees. I was one of the many fools in the city who insisted on going up to the terrace to ‘experience’ the storm for myself, and I will confess that it is by sheer luck that I am sitting here, typing this, instead of being admitted in the hospital for injuries inflicted by vagrant flying branches. I’d seen plenty of storms and cyclones on well, television, but to actually be in the middle of one, even if it was only for three odd minutes, rattled me to the bone.

Once the storm had settled, I watched the broken stumps and branches of trees which had long been part of the scenery of my childhood, cleared from the roads on which they had fallen. I watched the city bleed in shades of green and brown.

2016, in television terms, has had more twists, turns and deaths than the most gruesome and shocking of shows, and has made us hold our collective breaths in anticipation of what’s next. When December arrived, I had wholeheartedly believed that we’d come to the end of a very difficult year, but I was wrong. This month with its deaths, storms and the inhuman siege of Aleppo in Syria already has the world reeling. I can only hope that the season finale of 2016 is one that is placid and peaceful, for I doubt that the world can watch any more.

Leave a Reply