Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Adversity and Resilience: Reminiscences on Cyclone Vardah and MCC

The ravage wrought by #cycloneVardah has taken away one third of the city’s vast green cover!

A sylvan canopy to singara Chennai – a canopy that was succour, shelter and sustenance to all and sundry!

Quite interestingly the word ‘avenue’ that forms part of the 'street-nomenclatures' in Chennai and its suburbs, is translated (in Tamil) to mean ‘trees on either side of the street’!

And, yes! Chennai abounds in avenues, avenues and avenues! Avenues of all hues and shades adorn every ‘Pet’ or ‘Bakkam’ or ‘Nagar’ or ‘Oor’ in Chennai! Even the area in which I reside is lined up with numerous avenues boasting of enormous green cover!

Yep! Anna Nagar, Ashok Nagar, Nolambur, and hundreds of these city sidewalks are bulwarked on either sides with trees that lend their invigorating shade to cattle, cars and costermongers alike!

Selaiyur Hall #postVardah
Our own evergreen Madras Christian College has lost a huge number of trees, around 500 by approximate accounts - and double the number have also been damaged in the vardah fury, a damage that’s irreplaceable by all means!

Any student or staff who walks into the sylvan MCC campus #postVardah would be quite disheartened and disquieted, with disbelief writ large in their visage, at the violent havoc that has smitten its salubrious flora and fauna alike!

The gutters sport a desolate look, while the roads leading to the Halls wear a gaping lacuna in its ‘grove’y habitations! The beautifully arrayed stretch of sky-high trees that adorn either side of the 'Zoology-tank road' that leads up to the Princi’s house, wears a devastated look too! Indeed, the more you look at the devastation the more you tend to feel the disquiet within your soul reverberating on and on!

One of the few campuses in the whole of India with such a wonderful flora and fauna, and that houses the second largest scrub jungle in the whole of Asia, in a campus spread around four hundred acres, the College has now undergone a massive devastation smitten vehemently by Vardah!

Now, a damage of this kind may take years to have a turnaround of sorts!

Still, the encouraging reassurance for us all is that,

there’s light at the end of the tunnel!

Road leading to the Selaiyur Hall Gate #postVardah
Indeed, work is going on at a brisk pace all along the alleys and the byways – with poclain excavators clearing up the woods - busy all along, clearing up the gaping trail of havoc and destruction at a brisk pace! Roads have already been cleared up for easy vehicle movement!

Although the cyclone could wreak havoc on the forest cover in MCC, it can never destroy the spirit and the resilience of the College.

Even last year during the floods, when the whole of Chennai was literally marooned, MCC was giving succour and sustenance to the needy and the distressed; this was because the vast MCC Campus was very minimally affected by the floods, thanks to the excellent surface-water runoffs through well-organised gullies all around the campus that double up as storm water drains that have not only helped prevent flooding but also assisted in enhancing ground water supply – and all this made possible eons ago, even before Rain water harvesting [RWH] became a byword in society!

[You may want to read my take on 'MCC and the Chennai floods' on our blog HERE.]

the Selaiyur Hall stretch #postVardah
When I chanced to speak to a few staff members who reside in campus, asking them if their houses were impacted under tree falls, the staff were perturbed and distressed more at the falling down of the age-old trees than for their property. Sadness was writ large on the faces of yet other staff members when they described the irreplaceable loss of MCC’s green cover!

Dr. Prince added to say that, he was very grieved to see a tamarind tree that’s around 75 years old, fall down right in front of his house in campus, and went agog describing the invigorating charm of the tree and the other trees that had fallen to the fury of Vardah.

Quite a few men and women were also seen going around - disheartened and low-spirited at the trail of destruction that was in front of their eyes!

Indeed, after taking around five clicks from my camera, i couldn’t even gather the tenacity to click more of it, and so I stopped short in my tracks turning off my camera, putting it in my pocket, and sighed hugely at the catastrophic loss to the green cover in campus, not wishing to further document disheartening images of a catastrophic loss of such magnitude!

Well, nature’s fury is harsh and cruel! But the indomitable spirit that is innate to MCC has the will, the grasp and the strength to tide over this havoc in no time, and it is the ardent wish and prayer of every well-wisher of MCC that our grand old institution founded by good men and women in days past, will bounce back from this vardah-onslaught and soon regain its pristine grandeur.

Indeed, ALL of us associated with MCC - with one mind and one heart – we all have a steadfast and unswerving hope that the Madras Christian College Campus will soon bounce back with double vigour, vitality and verve, and that the sylvan, pristine splendor of the Campus will surely be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed and that MCC will continue to be the ‘greenest’ of embraces to millions in the years to come!

Even so be it!!

Viva la MCC!!!

1 comment:

  1. very sad to know that MCC has lost its huge trees! shocking to see our MCC without trees - its real beauty