surviving Ike - part 2

(....continues from here)

Next day morning, or rather noon (depending on what you define as morning - the time you get up, or the time sun gets up) we got a glimpse of what Ike had left along its path. A huge tree on the other side of the fence was uprooted and had fallen towards our lane breaking the fence some distance away from our house.

And all along the near by main road, similar sights of huge uprooted trees were visible. To my surprise, fortunately, all the trees had fallen towards the road rather than to the buildings. None of the traffic signals were working, few of them broken and hanging tantalizingly close to the top of the cars, most traffic posts now facing 90° offset of what they were before, many brick walls collapsed, people standing over the uprooted trees and posing for photos, streets flooded were few of the spectacles.

One bad thing with life in US is that without power you cannot survive in US for long. Unlike in India, we cannot use gas stove for cooking since most houses and apartments have electric stoves. And we were hoping to survive on the food and water we had stacked at home for god-knows-how-many-days-without-power. All the grocery stores and gas stations were closed. And fuel for car is as critical as fuel for stomach for survival in US.

All though these we were listening to radio news to know much damage Ike had caused especially to know how Uncle’s house was since we had no idea what was happening in that part of Houston. (Did I mention all the cell phone lines were jammed too? Yeah, cell phone is another addition to a survival kit here).

The Galveston was completely shut for transportation and, call it courage or foolhardiness, about 40% of the people didn’t leave that place despite the mandatory evacuation notice by the Mayor there. So, it was as good as being quarantined for people trapped there.

One good thing about waking up at noon on a ‘powerless’ day like this is that, you have to spend that much less time awake before hitting bed again at night. So before boredom set in, we were back to sleep still without power, without water.

By Sunday Deepa’s house got water supply back; but still no power. We got information that few places have started getting power back ‘Rice University’ where Deepa is doing PhD was one such place. Having exhausted our sadham supply the previous day, Deepa, GK n I set forth with a rice cooker and a vessel full of water to cook Rice at Rice! (No; that is not why that university was christened so ;). On the way we got to know that the roads leading to Uncle’s place was opening up and also that power has been restored at my apartment. After lunch, Uncle could no longer stay back knowing they could return and hence the 4 of them (Uncle, Aunt and his In Laws) decided to return. They didn’t have power there, but water supply was intact and they were using gas stove which was working fine! That left Deepa, GK and I with nothing to do but head to my apartment and finish off the remaining 2 dvds of Heroes!! Due to the damages and debris, we were given Monday also holiday and with power back we were back to enjoying the holiday.

We camped at my apartment that night and Monday returned to Deepa n GK’s house just to assess the situation. And when we were loitering there deciding on he next plan of action, Voila! The power was back!

After playing tennis for sometime I returned home and we all lived happily there after :)

My office and Deepa’s college resumed the next day; GK’s company gave him off for one more whole week! But, even after 2 weeks, normal life has not been restored in Houston to its entirety. Uncle’s house hasn’t got power yet as I write this and it’s true about many other parts of Houston too. Traffic signals still have not been fixed and we still have curfew at night after mid night.

But I realized the real extend of damage caused by Ike only when I saw these pictures.

Having seen these, I thank God that we were indeed spared. I know we have had worse natural disasters, but I haven’t lived through one in such close quarters. Was quite an experience indeed.

This is basically a mail I posted in a yahoogroup. Given the non activity in my blog, I am forced to utilize it as a blog entry. (I was so close to posting some of my office emails as blog posts, since those are the only things I draft now a days!)