It has been a tough month for the home state of Kerala, which is grappling with the worst flood in a century. It has been a testing time for humanitarian work, for beliefs, for politics … for everything. Theories abound as to what caused the floods ranging from human disruption of natural ecosystem, divine wrath, Solar Minimum year, weak El-Nino/a effect, a mix of these and several other variations of these theories.
I distinctly remembered on morning in #Palakkad as it rained. This was before the floods. The first day of several that were to follow that first drenched and then drowned the state. As I drove from Coimbatore, a border city of Tamil Nadu to Palakkad, Kerala for work at about 8 am. As I drove past the western ghats I saw that the rain clouds hung so low and it was an eerie drive to say the least. Never in my memory have I seen clouds so low. I knew something was amiss. I called my wife and told her something was not right. Nothing however prepared me or my state for what was to come.
The rains started barely minutes after I drove into Palakkad. It had been drizzling the night before, but it just got heavier and heavier. Pounding continued for 2 days and flooded north Kerala first. Then it subsided for a day over Palakkad on Saturday leaving it in floods, something that the natives bragged they’d never seen.
But still nothing prepared Kerala for the destruction they were about to witness in the coming week. Rain pounded Kerala (especially middle Kerala) in coming days and left it battling floods, death and destruction.
In midst of the destruction speculation emerged that this maybe a divine wrath (specifically of Sabarimala deity Ayyapan) and other exhorting people to ‘pray for Kerala’. Needless to say, the non-believers camp rejected these with their own rebuttals and even some going to the extent to labelling prayer as useless. Their argument being that prayer at this hour of crisis is useless. What is required is working hands at ground zero.
Of course, these arguments represent a variant of the believer non-believer clash that has been there since time immemorial. At times of crisis like this where any argument of a merciful divine force does not appeal with rampant, apparently unreasonable destruction all-around, it is a time to reflect on ones belief.
These lines were penned before the flood, on the day of heavy rains in Palakkad that preceded the flood. Even just seeing the rains it was amply clear that something was grossly wrong. These rains were not normal. I knew it as going to be trouble. The lines was also partly meditative, as I prayed for rain to ease.
These lines are a tribute to the constant tug of war in nature and in spirit that tests our beliefs : whether it be theistic or atheistic. Man constantly asks God, but…
This was also penned before, this a tribute to the my home state.