News & Interviews

The Deluge & I

I never want to see  rain being glorified  in  Hindi cinema again.  All those  incandescent  melodies  about…oh!…how gloriously  romantic the rains are, like  Rimjhim gire sawan sulagsulag jaye mann, Rimjhim ke geet saawan gaye  and  Abke saawan mein jee jarey rimjhim tann pepaani girey, came crashing around once the heavens opened  up  on  the capital  of Bihar like  never before. At  least, not during my  lifetime. 

I’ve never seen a deluge so dreadful, devastating and  frightening in my entire life.

 It started  on  the  night of September 27. As usual I  was  watching a  film in the night. It was  a thriller ominously called  A  Dark Place(that’s where I  was heading, though  I didn’t know at that  point  of time) when the heavy rains started. I finished my film past midnight and went  to sleep smiling  as   the  next day my idol, the Goddess  of all Melodious Things(the one  who sang all the aforementioned  rain songs) was turning  90.

Yes,it was the mighty Mangeshkar’s 90th birthday and  we Lata bhakts in  our family had big plans. Every year we  feed  a  girls’ orphanage , make them  cut a cake. As  a  return gift I   get to hear one of Lataji’s songs  sung diligently by one  of  the  girls.

 The  Bihar Sarkar in  all its wisdom  and  foresight, decided  to  deprive  me  of that annual privilege. You see, God proposes . But  Sarkar disposes. We  elect these earth earthly gods,  

bestow them  with  superhuman  powers then watch them  misuse  abuse and blatantly  subvert those  powers. For years  I haven’t  cared about who comes  to power. This  deluge has  made me care.  I watched my life come to  a standstill  for  a good 7 days(the ordeal is still not  over) with  no help in sight.

For  the first time I broke  the  rule of no personal tweets and  posted plaintive pleading tweets to the  Bihar administration. As the rains pelted down  I became urgently traumatized. My  stress level rose along  with  the water. With every  passing hour, my  dread  grew wings. By  Sunday evening  I  was  a  nervous wreck.

The  water had  entered  the  ground  floor of  the  our home. What was there  to stop it from entering the  first floor as it did in Kerala last year? Certainly not  the Bihar sarkar. The Administration sat waiting for the rains to  stop before taking  action. This is to say, the water level  kept rising while my electorally chosen  mates  just  sat around  probably  watching Arnab  Goswami screaming with Pappu Yadav about the inept Sarkar.

I  also saw  Aaadraniya Nitishji  guffawing at  some  media persons  heckling them  for being so bothered  about one  deluged mohallah  when there is  so much happening in  the world.

You are  so right, Nitishji. We  in  the  Rajendranagar colony  were wrong  to get so  terrified.  

After all  it’s just water(off a duck’s back). We  had been  chosen for this special treatment  by the Gods. There were torrential rains  everywhere  in   Patna. But only we in Rajendranagar were submerged  neck-deep for almost a  week(as  I write  the  water is yet to recede  completely). This has  got to be  a sign from above.  Right,  Greta Thunberg?

Speaking  of Greta, I wonder what Aadarniya  Nitishji  and  Aadarniya Patna DM Saab  KumarRavi think of   the  teenaged environmentalist?  Not much, I  guess. They were too busy  being at loggerheads with one   another  to  bother about  the ‘Greta’  good, ha ha.

On a more serious note,  we need to acutely think about what  the  closing-down  of   all  environmental  checks and curbs means  to  civilization. There were old  people  stranded in their homes without water and  food. The  Sarkar(jai ho!)  released boats and  tractors filled with water and  food  after the rains stopped. 

Nao, think  about it. As these boats cruised the Venitian  canals  of Rajendranagar colony in Patna they threw  food and milk packets and water battles at  homes. Which meant one had to be  a good catcher  to  get the goodies. These Santas in their  sludgy sleighs  wanted  the junta to come down and get the  bounty.We had  to  wade through the  neck/shoulder/waist deep water to reach salvation.

This  is what  old people were  being asked to do by not very polite social workers one of whom I heard  shouting from  his boat,  “Aapko khaana  pani chahiye toh paani  sehna padega.”

Kyun bhai? Kyun sehna  padega? We are tax-paying citizens . I pay  an average  of  Rs 20,000 per month  as electricity tariff  .Why was I without electricity for a  full seven days?  Think  about it. Seven  days without power in the Capital of Bihar. I  shudder to  think what the smaller towns where the media isn’t active must have gone through.

In desperation I tweeted to my democratically chosen  Member Of Parliament Aadarniya Ravi Shankar Prasad  for help.  He didn’t respond. He had once spoken to me on  the phone  and complimented me . “Aapko  kaun nahin jaanta?”

His words  now come  back to me  in  a ricocheting rebuke. “Aur aap logon  ko kaun  nahin janta?’

Panch saal ki chandni aur phir  gayab…But we will  live  with the trauma  forever. And  the  losses. At least  40-45 dogs and puppies  perished  mercilessly  in the water. Animal  activists ,please  note.  Human activists, just forget it.A  natural calamity  of  this  magnitude  is  just not for  you to handle.

 Bheegi  bheegi raaton mein aisi barsaaaton meine kaisa lagta hai?  Kishore Kumar once  asked  famously.

I  will  tell you  Kaisa lagta hai. As  though  the   Gods have taken mass leave and left us to our devices.  I think I  survived  on the  good wishes  of my  friends in the Mumbai film industry  who offered  genuine  concern  .

But Javed Akhtar Saab   offered more.   He offered some  thought provoking consolation.  “We go through this  in Mumbai every year at least twice. It’s not  about the Bihar government.  It’s about governments  everywhere. They sit on the  funds meant for monsoonal  disaster .”

The funds expire. So do our hopes.

Someone  tweeted sarcastically  against my protests and pleas saying, “If  you don’t find the Administration effective I am sure the BIG B is just a call away. 

I can see  my dear Shatrughan Sinha guffawing at at that. I know he would have been  just a phone call away if he was  still the MP from Patna. But then why must we Indians depend on  personal relations to be treated decently by our chosen democratic parliamentarians?

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Most Popular

To Top