Friday, October 28, 2005

The Real Storm Didn't Pass, Actually

Well, who’d have thought of it, then? This is the city where, when we came two summers ago, we had to buy every drop of water we consumed and/or used – and yesterday it was flooded! Anna Salai, familiar to old-timers as Mount Road, was a shallow river and the airport, normally a 45-min drive away from our place had become a 4-hour nightmare.

What the floods highlighted? Such sad inefficiency… The power breakdown was expected, but need the sub-stations have electrocuted 50 people before they were shut down? And we’re not exactly talking of homeless squatters (an oxymoron? I suppose not) getting killed in places they had no business being. Patricia Aunty’s friend lost her husband because he got electrocuted in their own house. The place was flooded and he had gone to switch the mains off. It could have happened to anybody, that’s what is so scary about it.

Then the helplines… none of them worked. I was supposed to take the Rajdhani this morning for Delhi, and we just couldn’t get through to the station to find out if trains were running or not. If Beq’s sis hadn’t actually gone there to catch her own train I wouldn’t have known till much later that the station was flooded and no railway traffic was possible.

Mejopishi was supposed to be flying in from Cal yesterday evening. The Deccan Air helpline assured her that all planes were flying (even when we Chennaites knew that the airport was flooded and the storm was too strong to encourage small planes) and it was only hours later that we found out that the plane in which she was supposed to come to Chennai hadn’t even left Chennai to go to Cal.

Which brings me back to what I have asked for a really long time now – why are call center services so inefficient and why are they inevitably the last to know their own news?

There’s strong sunshine outside now, slowly fading with the end of the day. Storm warnings are still being broadcast. Let’s see what the remains of the day bring. I hope I get to meet Varsha in an hour’s time as planned.

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