There is talk of rains again but the Man from Madras Musings will believe them when they happen.
As is usual at this time of the year, the city is eagerly looking up at the sky and indulging in its hobby of cloud spotting. The weathermen have made their usual vague predictions – we could have a bountiful monsoon, on the other hand there is this, that and the other to be considered and on the basis of that, this and the other, we could have a moderate monsoon or none at all. And then there came a night when all weather channels predicted clear skies only to have clouds arriving en-mass, lightning flashing, thunder pealing non stop and rain coming down in buckets. By early next morning, the city was back to its other hobby – complaining about the rain and waterlogging. Mind you, The Man from Madras Musings is not finding fault with the city complaining about waterlogging. The citizens pay their taxes (at least some do) and so expect some modicum of repair to ensure the roads remain free of water after rains. But then this is Chennai – we are never prepared for flood or drought and have still managed for over 375 years.
The next and perhaps most unexpected development was an sms from the authorities – stay at home it said, for the rains were going to be torrential and only a Noah would make bold to step out. This was probably from the same department that sent out notifications to schools asking them to shut down each time it rained in those happy days when schools meant live classes and not horrible sessions online. Anyway, whatever it was or whoever it was that sent the sms to MMM and others, it had the desired effect – the rain stopped and has after that not returned to Chennai, except for some showers a few days later.
That has since brought to an abrupt halt all of those screaming about the waterlogging. MMM notices that the leader of this pack, rather like Abou Ben Adhem is our beloved Leader of the Opposition, who is forever flaying the Government for something or the other. MMM does not hold any brief for the current administration but this he can say with confidence – when it comes to protecting the drainage heritage of the city, both the party in power and the one in the opposition share honours equally. It flooded then, it floods now and it will flood in future. MMM for one takes those pronouncements of those in office about completion of flood mitigation programmes in the city with a large lump of salt. We will need to live with this. But then, we may have to get used to it also, for climate change specialists are anyway predicting a rise in ocean levels and our city is in the front line of risk when it comes to flooding that way. Looking at the matter from both sides, we are bound to get flooded.
Those brief hours of rain had some of our social media lions roaring to their fullest. There were the usual laments about vanished lakes, buildings constructed on water bodies, cutting of trees, relaying of roads at repeatedly higher levels and corruption in high places. Thereafter, when it stopped raining, everyone went back, to encroaching on lakes, constructing on water bodies, cutting trees, watching roads being relaid at repeatedly higher levels and getting work done via corruption in high places.