The impact of Tauktae once again reminded me of what the columnist Busybee wrote years ago. He had wryly observed that ‘The difference between those who love the monsoon, and those who hate it is where they live.’ He used to write on Mumbai where the towers tower higher, the slums slam harder. And when the monsoon rages more ferociously than in any other comparable city, the 1% floats dreamily while the 99% has its dreams and dekchis swept away in the recurring nightmare. This time it came sooner with the cyclone. Not that it won’t come later in the season of scheduled storms.
So, unsurprisingly on that black-sky Monday, the penthouse parvenu blabbered romantically about hot, buttered, artisanal toast. Romanticised about the ‘hill-station feel’. Waxed eloquent on the rain coming down in sheets outside their 50th-floor French windows. And grumbled about the part-time help’s no-show.
Said help was occupied full-time in salvaging her life.
Her ‘Mam’ may have been ‘totally blown away by this surreal cyclone!’ but her own tin roof had been totally blown away by the real cyclone. The rain had come down in sheets inside her shanty home soaking her clothes and ruining the ration rice. A landslide on the adjacent hill had buried the zoppadpatti on and below it.
Across the harbour, the Alibag elitists had remained ensconced in their lavish weekend homes, or had wisely speedboated there in time. The kids had their nanny, maybe even their nana-nani, to mind them. The Lord was in his haven, all’s well with the world. But, damn! The Net was down.
Beyond the sybaritic cordon sanitaire, the lower case nets of lower-case fishermen were beyond salvage. So were their boats. Livelihood interrupted before the monsoon’s shore-stuck imperative. But at least they themselves were still alive. So many weren’t. Even far sturdier barges had been lashed off their moorings and sunk, and even heroic navy men in mighty warships had to struggle to rescue those who had jumped overboard.
The 1% in their safe harbours, high rise or wherever, watched The Perfect Storm, sipped hot honeyed brandies, and drawled, ‘Amphan, Nisarga and now this taekwondo-sounding Tauktae. They can’t give our cyclones easier names or wot?’
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Alec Smart said: “China on Mars? Now it’s a doubly Red Planet.”
This article is intended to bring a smile to your face. Any connection to events and characters in real life is coincidental.
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