The Returning Cyclone

By Sumangal Haldar and voice over by Achla Mahendroo

It’s almost the same time of the year when last year our whole family was struggling to cope up with the aftermaths of Amphan cyclone. This year it would had been the same, had not the Yaas cyclone taken an alternate path. The scheduled time for the cyclone is long spent now, and the silence all around broken by the croaking of frogs like a synchronized orchestra makes it feel like any other day in a rainy season.  The cricket is no less a participant in this all-night show. The pitch darkness with some LED bulb glowing in a house some distance from my place is the accompanying scene. Stars are no where to be seen, and moon in a lunar eclipse is hiding in the overcast weather. Last year the glowing LED bulbs were missing and were replaced by candles and oil lamps in this time; since all the overhead electricity wiring were lying flat on ground across the village and across the state. The feeling itself; that there wouldn’t be any power supply for the next how many days, was haunting. We purchased electricity on hourly basis, from person who have been resourceful enough to arrange for gensets, and the voltage delivered was so low that it would take almost a day to recharge a UPS batterie that would give a backup of 3 hours. The capital in hand was draining and the organization I worked for was in no mood to pay our salary citing Lockdown conditions. 

I worked for an organization which had its head office in a different State, and most of those holding a similar profile in the company like mine, worked remotely. So, it was tough for us to emphatically demand for the clearance of our dues, and easier for them to block our calls and abrogate our genuine appeals. Oh! I forgot to mention the constant: COVID. Yes! most of us in the Private industry faced a similar outcome: Leave the job or asked to go for a long leave without pay. And so, I did. Sympathies poured in; they were soothing but gently reminding you of your apathy. Things went on until it got you hooked to another assignment that helps you keep your life moving. 

FASTFORWARD March 2021: Life has become faster in this fast lane. The media houses filled the vacuity of our thought processes and evoked the sense of fear and pain, sometimes felt like unbearable. The imagery, the voice delivery and the compilation and repetition of those fearful and ghastly information fed upon the inherent macabre instincts. Day ends were less disturbing when one didn’t receive a call that announced the departing of some known soul. We were moving on a fast lane, and those that went ahead were faster than we thought them to be. 

Resilience is one such thing which we failed to notice. In extreme grief, when it felt like we would retch our heart out, we got the strength from within. People started to pour in, extending helping hands, and it became contagious when we started noticing it. It proved that deep within something good exists, and verified that good things become contagious in bad times. 

SLOWDOWN to NORMAL PLAY May 2021: The night around is dark, maybe darker than another night; the melodramatic music of the frogs and the cricket might be shriller. The media is busy announcing the passing away of a life-threatening cyclone Yaas. It has played a havoc at many a place like the last one did it in the place we live. Tomorrow will be different for some and same for some, but there are things to be noticed. In the backdrop of my mind, I hear a song playing:   

While the world looks upon me
As I struggle along
They say I’ve got nothing
But they are so wrong
In my heart I’m rejoicing
How I wish they could see
Thank you Lord
For your blessing on me!

There’s a roof up above me
I’ve a good place to sleep
There’s food on my table
And shoes on my feet
You gave me your love Lord
And a fine family
Thank you Lord
For your blessings on me!”        

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