Stories of the Deluge Now in a Book, The New Indian Express, April 20, 2016

Stories of the Deluge Now in a Book

Published: 20th April 2016 04:33 AM

Last Updated: 20th April 2016 04:37 AM

Deluge 1IE

CHENNAI: It’s been over three months since the disastrous floods. We have talked about the losses, debated over the causes and expressed sympathy for the victims. Journalist, writer and blogger Meera Raghavendra Rao found another reason and decided to pen it into a book — The Spirit of Chennaiites.

“I came across two domestic maids who were affected by the floods. I asked them how they were. In their ill-fitted clothes, they told me they had lost everything and had lived on the roof for days. I pitied the two but then they told me not to feel bad and that they would work harder and earn it all back. That got me thinking. I was foolish to pity them. Chennaiites don’t brood over loses, we act!” says Meera at the launch of her book at Odyessey Book Store, Adyar.

In conversation with chief guest Pravin M who is an architect, the author shared another reason for book. “Yes, a lot has been talked about again and again. But I wanted to document it in my own way. A book is permanent and this is my reward to all of us.” Meera is a compulsive writer and blogger. She loves writing people-centric stories and spent 10 years writing about bureaucracy and crime facts. “I am inspired by what I read and hear. Also, I believe the best way to report is to get everything from the horse’s mouth. I got people to talk about their experiences.” The Spirit of Chennaiites is a small 75-page handy book written in three months that not only documents the trauma but also holds first-person excerpts of flood victims.

Towards the end, the audience began to share their experiences too. For some, the power shutdown and being deprived of technology was a wake-up call while for others it turned out to be an epiphany — about family and love. There are survivors who revealed their nightmare and also the stories of the dead. “The floods acted as a leveler; eighty to eight-year-old came together to help and support each other. I wanted to air my grievances and celebrate the united strength of our people,” smiles Meera.

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