The Chennai floods managed to weave their way into mainstream news for about a week, and then got washed away by Bhai and his judgment.
In a way, I feel bad for Chennai Floods. I mean, look at what they were competing against – Donald Trump (a Subramaniam Swamy of US levels), ISIS (who upload blockbuster beheading videos every Wednesday, a bloody Chitrahaar of sorts), and Bhai himself.
Honestly, with the screwed up priorities of our news organizations, did you honestly think the Chennai Floods stood a chance?
The gruesome facts related to the Chennai Floods are truly soul-boggling.
Over 400 dead, some 300 missing, 1.8 million displaced from their homes and livelihood, loss to property and business worth 10,000 crores – and barely four days on the headlines. While the coverage of the news was depressing enough, the ruling AIADMK party did its bit by adding ‘Amma’ posters to relief material, firmly proving that there is no bigger nik-Amma than our political parties, when it comes to handling a natural calamity.
Experts have pointed out over and over again that much of the damage could have been averted. That a failure in urban planning is what made the damage snowball into a complete catastrophe. And yet, we spent much of our times retweeting actors donating paltry amounts like 10 lakhs towards the cause.
I have a problem with rich men dumping money towards causes, because honestly, a person announcing to donate ten lakhs is no guarantee of anything. I mean, if it’s a cheque, it is going to take two days to encash (and if it’s SBI, it’ll come through next Christmas). Also, sending ‘money’ means nothing, if you have no idea where the money is going, and how it is being implemented.
We celebrated these initiatives, and efforts by humanitarian groups. Which is all good.
But not once did we question the role of urban planners and the administration about their preparedness for a calamity of this scale. Instead, we chose to hail voluntary efforts, giving it the name ‘Spirit of Chennai’.
It is something we have done over and over again.
When there are floods in Mumbai, we pay no attention to the crumbling public systems, choosing instead to hail human effort and initiative with vague shit like ‘The Spirit of Mumbai/Kolkata/Delhi’.
What the fuck is this ‘spirit’ we keep harping on about?
Most major calamities in recent years were serious lapses in security, planning and preparedness. 26/11 was sheer incompetence. The Mumbai local trains blasts were another example. Our response to floods, cyclones, and earthquakes is more political posturing, and less actual relief.
I am sorry, but there is no fucking ‘Spirit of Chennai’.
It is human nature to struggle, adapt, and survive. Human beings will adapt to their surroundings, and help each other out (except the ISIS – those guys are bastards!). It is high time we start questioning India’s poor urban planning, our lack of preparedness to deal with calamities, and our fuck-all ‘Chalta Hai’ attitude in times of distress.
It is easy to pat each other’s back and say vague shit like ‘Spirit of Chennai and Mumbai’. But if people are going to attempt to solve problems on this scale, why the fuck do we have elected representatives?
If we are going to be using Ola boats from one flooded colony to another, delivering ‘Amma’ packets to homeless people, why do we have Mother Hen chilling at Ooty for the rest of the year?
And if we are going to be putting up shit like ‘Spirit of Chennai’ on our walls, what would idiotic sites like ScoopWhoop and BuzzFeed come up with?