2020, a four-digit number that suddenly seems a disaster in itself. Political games, international affairs, global pandemic, gas leak, death of migrants and the list is endless. As if it wasn’t enough, we had Amphan, the worst cyclone in 30 years, too.
It’s true that we connect to something much more than others if we personally face it. When the rest of the world was still fighting COVID19, the states of West Bengal and Odisha were preparing themselves for the unforeseeable havoc. Living in Kolkata, I can only express my personal agony that’s burning me deep from within, because of the destruction I see in my “City of Joy”.
It started raining, at first. Then strong winds with unimaginable force came gushing in. Amphan was set to enter this city at 7.30 pm. We checked the wind speed and it was 135 kmph (the strongest one). That’s when I prayed the most for the shelterless. I was still blessed because I had a roof. I saw three dogs struggling with the storm and immediately brought them inside my building. There were many others who gave shelter to people and animals. Just when I was about to cook the dinner, the electricity was gone.
Morning was worse. The storm vanished but it’s destruction was right in front of our eyes. I saw at least six to seven trees fallen near my residence. I was heartbroken because in recent times, I started loving trees, animals, and whole of the nature more than humans. Like a shattered lover, I stood in my balcony, senseless. I came back to my room, switched on my phone and checked my WhatsApp.
Honestly, when I came to Kolkata five years back, I never imagined that I would love this place so very much. I wasn’t as lucky as those who have been born and brought up here. But I lived some of my most crucial and amazing years, here. The love for Kolkata brewed within me quite slowly. Looking at the pieces of a broken Kolkata broke my heart into a thousand pieces. It sounds cliche, but it’s true.
Uprooted trees, water clogged roads, fallen street lights and poles, destroyed airport and bus stands, ruined homes and shops, demolished statues, crushed legendary Kolkata buses and other vehicles were too scary to witness. What eventually did hit me the most was some of the most iconic things this city had. Floating books in the College Street was a big blow to all the students and book lovers like me who have spent hours altogether wandering the bookstalls there. Our own Lake Town clock tower is broken now. I feel despondent looking at these images that continue to pour in my chats.
And just like that, a cyclone that lasted for less than 24 hours, claimed more than 80 lives and destroyed cities, ended. More so, in my opinion, because humans have exploited nature for so long. Nature is above us and not vice versa. If this can’t teach us, I don’t know what will. Yes we have to develop and make progress, but we have to learn to do that alongside protecting our nature.
I will wait for the damaged cities to repair. I will wait for the City of Joy to smile again. I will wait for the morning when the local buses will again create chaos and the yellow taxi will prettify the streets. I will wait for the people to enjoy Puchka and other street food delicacies. I will wait for my Kolkata to glow again, for its antique charm and alluring luminescence can never stay hidden for long. Till then, “Bhaalo Thakun”.
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