News Today, April 21, 2016
December deluge chronicled in book form
Monday, 18 April 2016
Chennai: “I was inspired to write a book which will add permanency in the form documentation to the incidents and unforeseen happenings that took place during the November-December deluge in the city,” said journalist-writer N Meera Raghavendra Rao at the launch of her latest book, ‘The Spirit of Chennaiites.’
In a conversation with chief guest, architect Pravin M Aiana, organised as part of the launch function last evening at a famous book store in Adyar, she said that was how the idea of a book on the Chennai floods – the first book to record the deluge, was born.
She got the book, her seventh, ready in less than four months after the great deluge. Meera said she was moved by the plight of many people who were greatly affected by the torrential rain and resultant floods.
Not only that, she said, she wanted to prove that just as there was praise for the spirit of Mumbaikars, she wanted to establish that Chennaiites were equally resilient “I understood the real pain of the deluge when I met two maids who had lost everything to the floods… even their clothes. When I expressed pity for them, they said, “Madam, why do you feel bad? We will earn back every penny that we lost.” That is where I found the real spirit of Chennai – not in the place that is well-off, but where people didn’t have anything.”
That led her to call her book ‘The Spirit of Chennaiites’.
The 75-page book that also has photos, contributions/articles by the editor and reporters of ‘News Today’, carries three real-life experiences of people who were the worst hit by the deluge.
Said Meera, “Since all three were real-life experiences, I decided that the best way to describe the incident would be in first person narrative. I also know that many more went unreported.”
Once the floor was thrown open to the audience – the room was packed – there was a deluge of ‘stories’ of what they went through or did not go through.
While one youngster said hey had bonded as a family at the time of crisis, another person narrated the moving tale of an elderly woman being found dead by her son on the 15th floor of the high-rise in OMR and battling for two days to solve the problem of doing her last rites.
One person in the audience stressed the need for going the solar way – as he did – and said that bailed him out during the December floods. The first copy of the book that is pocket-friendly in size and price, was received by Professor K N Rao, a retired professor of Botany from a city college and an author himself.