April 23, 2015
It took no more than 3 minutes to go from pre-monsoon rain to flooding. Inside the house. Because we just don’t have enough more problems in our lives right now. But this story has a good ending, at least for us.
Last night, E. fell asleep for a short nap on the couch. It was raining, the nice rains we enjoy in the early evenings almost every night. We often sit out on the patio with a Diet Coke to watch the rain, listen to the wind and remind ourselves how lucky we are to have a concrete roof over our heads. Suddenly, the tree in our neighbor’s yard started shaking violently. I thought it was pretty and tried to wake up E. but got a grunt as a response. A couple of minutes later, rain became a heavy storm, and three doors slammed simultaneously. That woke him up, spewing curse words.
I have been through intense weather in the US, the worst being Hurricane Ike in 2008. Regardless of the extent of the damage caused, at least we had notice, hence were prepared, especially closing, and in some cases, boarding up windows.
Rain is supposed to fall from top to bottom. Vertically. That’s the laws of physics. It’s gravity. But with the force of the wind, the rain entered the screened windows at a 45-degree angle and landed several few meters away. Four meters to be exact, I measured. In a matter of minutes we were flooded. We rushed to first close the curtains to minimize damage, then close each window. We have over 30 windows, each with an involved mechanism for opening and closing the lock. With the wind hell bent on keeping them open, E. got his fingers crushed more than once. More curse words. We unplugged all appliances and once everything quieted down a bit, we called Sathya and our maid to make sure they were not sleeping in mud tonight. She said she had a leak. “Leak not big, leak small”. Good.
Then there was hail. Hail in South India. Hail in South India in the summer. I just don’t understand. Hail cannot be common here as people were sending reports of “heavy rain with ice cubes”.
Overview of the damage:
- Because the house is somewhat sheltered by our neighbors’ house on two sides, the first floor didn’t get too much water, except for one computer monitor. However, the living room on the second floor became a big lake. The house must be slanted as the water was slowing finding its way to one side. I laid down every bath towel, dishtowel, and dishrag I could find to soak it up. Pretty useless. And if the second floor was a lake, the third floor was an ocean.
- Everything within 1.5 meter of an open window got wet. Electronics, clothes, pictures, books, toilet paper. Out of two skylights, one is leaking. The one above the printer of course.
- The water that came inside the house was brown. It came through the screens, which have probably never been washed. We now have streaks of beige drips on the walls below each window. Where the puddles of water formed, we now have brown dirt. The white towels are brown. The bathroom wall mirror is covered in brown splatters and so are the black kitchen counters.
- The wind was so strong it blew the refrigerator magnets off and into the living room. That’s a distance of about 5 meters, or 15 feet.
- We lost power for about 12 hours, working on the generator. We were preparing for a few days without power, so we used the strict minimum: fans and phone chargers, using flashlights and book lights instead of normal lights. We didn’t lose our internet connection.
- I was afraid that we would soon get a musty smell, but thanks to our supersonic fans, everything is dry this morning.
Once I knew we were safe and the house ok, I thought it was pretty cool. I was a minority in that opinion. E. wasn’t impressed with the potential damage to one computer, one kitten ran under the couch the second she heard the doors slam, and the other kitten was no where to be found until we walked around the house with a plate of Kitty Paté, which brought her out of her seclusion.
But we don’t live under a tent.
PS: If you’re reading this to assess the state of my mental health, you’re an idiot.