My city, Chennai (Madras) in South India is one of the worst hit parts by the tsunamis triggered by the quake. Marina beach, which I frequent a lot is throwing up dead bodies since yesterday morning. Water has come into the city. The beautiful beach road is partially submerged. Hundreds of fishermen are missing, the media says, and we know what became of them. The official toll, so far is 2500 in TN, my state. Since the chief minister has announced Rs.1,00,000 for every family that has lost a member, the official toll would in no way near the real figure.
My uncle residing near the beach said that he woke upto a rude but brief jolt and found everything okay after a while. Then, the tsunamis, the giant killer waves, slowly showed their presence. Nagapattinam, home of around 5000 fishermen is very badly hit. Many were at sea and their families lived close to the shore. The hospitals are ill-equipped to handle such big-scale emergencies. The top bureaucrats would see this as an opportunity to swindle from the emergency relief fund. Thanks to the public that are providing fantastic humanitarian assistance. They need to be educated about the potential outbreak of epidemics (open drainage mixing with water and flowing around the streets) and the means to prevent them.
Whenever I saw a bunch of corpses that belonged to Palestine or Sudan, I would go 'Oh my god! It's terrible' and continue my routine. Today morning, brushing my teeth, I didn't find the usual boring face in the mirror. I was unusually very aware and conscious of my morning routine activities that 'routine' seems an inappropriate word to describe my yoga and shitting and bathing and eating. Yes, I'm alive.
--Originally written on 27-12-2004 for LJ.