The flood in Aluva – A Glimpse

flood in Aluva

The water rose in our house
to the first floor

The water came suddenly
from the river
to where it had never come before
as the dam had been unleashed into it
and it had overflowed even to the midst of the town
We left without further ado
An old man and an old woman
a daughter and her husband who both cannot speak or hear
and a granddaughter who could
the son being away
to the nearby house
of the old woman’s sister
We left like the five find outers and we too had with us a black dog
The house became Kirrin island

The phones died
The neighbours cried
Life does hide
We had to, our time, bide and abide

36 hours they waited
our other daughters
to hear from us
Our grand-daughter charged her phone from a neighbour’s car
(“Haven’t I told you to put a charger in the car?”)
The water kept rising
to the first floor in our house nearby
It was the old man’s birthday when it started receding
and they could go back to get him a shirt for a change

No calls got through
that the daughter’s husband made
from Bangalore
except to someone in Thrissur
and someone in Thiruvananthapuram
A Rebin who bothered to answer and listen patiently and even try to help at the son in law’s insistent pleas born of anxiety
All lines were bust, or busy
or phones switched off
Getting no news was like eating fire
No electricity, net, little water, less food

A cousin and her husband was trapped in a church with some fifty others
Their son abroad took to facebook to try and help
The children ate fire
Finally a boat came and rowed them all to safety

Water got into all the cars
but the old man’s was kept on a raised platform
and they were working on it
when the floods came
They left
It remained high, stranded
And all that was left was the sound of the water
lapping against the legs of the raised platform
but the car was saved

9000 people in UC College, Alwaye, in a hastily put together relief camp
run only by a few staunch volunteers
waiting anxiously for supplies of all sorts
medical, fiscal, clothing, food, water
and next day a 50000 waiting to register for aid to reconstruction
but an old student of the old man had mercy on him
took him to the front of the line
as he was too old to wait
and got him registered

Cleaning and restoring the house will take ages
How many more such stories
How many months and years
how many lives
and bruises
How much time and how many dangers
How many fights with insensitive vultures
Hear the message the waters left behind
time and tide
wait for no one
and do not differentiate between the mad outsiders
not in danger who can say any shit they like
and the sad insiders
who had to face the battle and war
of sudden collapse
brought on by years of neglect to the warnings given
by nature and the wise
At the end remains the task of rebuilding
and remembering the dead
avoiding the poisonous
for there is only one sky on earth
and you will always have the water and the vipers with you
which and whom you have to live with
the next time too
& eat fire
and come out
unscathed, because you are just simple people and true.

Dr A.V. Koshy is an established author and writer who is a poet, critic and artist. He has a doctorate in Samuel Beckett’s Poems in English from the University of Kerala, now published. He has co-authored and published a monograph of essays called Wrighteings: In Media Res and has several, published research papers to his credit. His greatest desire is to build a village for people having autism where all their needs are met. He runs an NGO called “Autism for Help Village Project” with his wife for this dream to come true. He has fourteen other books out now as fiction writer, literary critic, poet, academician, literary theoretician, essayist, editor, anthologist, co -editor, co-author and co-contributor. His latest and perhaps best book is a collection of short stories Scream and Other Urbane Legends.

© Koshy AV

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