I live in Houston, TX. Yes, that portion of the world that is currently getting flooded. I am sure everyone reading this post has heard about the disaster Harvey brought along. Here is Part-1 of my Harvey story.
To get everything straight, I am one of those lucky ones. My home did not flood. There was no need for evacuation. While I am extremely grateful, I watch my city and my friends suffer, evacuate and more. It is traumatic and surreal.
Tuesday, 29th August:
I am definitely in a better frame of mind as I type this in. The area I am in, is limping back to normalcy. There are cars on the main road and you know the sound the tires make on wet asphalt roads? It is music. It is a relief to hear it. I hear the sirens from ambulances and fire trucks and I breathe out. It was quiet for too long. I cherish the sounds of life and city living today.
I also decided that the TV will stay off. My news comes from social media as I find the news coverage very disturbing. Also, my almost 8-year old is getting distressed as she watches the disaster.
Today, I have been answering and reassuring friends and relatives who have been watching Houston get devastated that we are fine. Really fine. Given the scale of disaster, it is a miracle that we are really fine.
Then there is the process of trying to get updates from friends who live in other parts of town. A friend evacuated overnight, another is safe but surrounded and another has neighbors who are flooded. It is the same stories you see on TV but at a much personal level.
I pour over evacuation maps and trying to make sense of the hydrology and water levels. Afterall, I need to put that Advanced Hydrology class I took years ago to go use.
I start finding jokes about Harvey mildly funny. Like that one which goes,
See what happens when you name a hurricane after a man? He won’t ask for directions, wanders around lost, leaves a mess, and doesn’t clean up after himself!
Or that image of the shark photoshopped? Alligators and fire ants are more Houston appropriate photo-shoppers.
Harvey Heavy Emotions
Going through the images of flooding and rescues, I spot places and roads I frequent. I scan them for faces I know. Surreal is probably closest to what I feel. Pain, heartbreak, dejection, anger and helplessness all wash over me. Harvey is damaging the city. I have no idea how long it will take for the city to recover. Further, there are still many evacuations going on. Reservoirs are under controlled release inundating the already flooded areas and there is more rain coming. We are no where near the end and I see weeks and weeks of dealing with the aftermath and rebuilding.
But, stories of valor, bravery, selflessness, empathy and courage, that are an integral part of Harvey take centerstage. Those are the ones that I focus on today. They leaves me speechless and filled with that feeling of having done nothing. It is the spirit of the people and the community that makes me realize how strong the human spirit it.
It is determination, survival, family and community at its best. The strong Texan spirit and the determination to set the wrong right is a sight to watch and learn from. I am so glad I call this place home for now and I look forward to sharing those lessons with my daughter.
A version of this post first appeared on Indian Moms Connect.