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  • Writer's pictureLalita Dileep

Calm After the Storm

Introducing a Guest Blogger: Jayanthi Rajaram

It is my pleasure to introduce, Jayanthi Rajaram, one of my readers and subscriber as a Guest Blogger. She would like to share her personal story about storm #Isaias and how she, her family and her neighborhood reacted to it during these COVID times. Read on....

As we were all getting used to the new way of living with #COVID awareness, Mother Nature decided to give us all a jolt in the form of #Isaias. Isaias blew through in a day and wreaked havoc in its wake leaving millions without power. I happened to be one of the millions.

Eight years ago, Hurricane Sandy left devastation in its wake – it was the first time that we were without power for more than a day, and I remember feeling frazzled and overwhelmed as to the next steps. Luckily a close friend got power back in a day and invited us to stay with them. After 7 long days, the world picked up the pieces, cleared the debris and we all moved on. After all, it was to be a “once in a lifetime” occurrence. Was it, though?

While Sandy thrashed and lingered for a few days, Isaias blew through and one would think the damage would be less – but the fierceness left many in a state of confusion. But this time around, there was a calm acceptance of the situation. Has COVID taught us acceptance of all calamities? Or did practice make one perfect, and are we now stronger in facing adversity?

The focus shifted sharply from mask and gloves to food and water. Long lines at the Dunkin Donuts for coffee, carts of discarded frozen goods in grocery stores, and signs at pharmacies that said “Store Temporarily closed – No Power” were the sights that confronted us.

Roads were closed as crews worked tirelessly to remove fallen trees, while we tried to find ways around the fallen debris. The GPS was overused, as some tried to get home and others tried to stock up on water and get to an open restaurant for dinner.

The earth’s axis shifted slightly; sleeping with our windows open, we woke up to the thrum of the neighbor’s generator, instead of the songs of birds. We learned to use minimal water for necessities, and truly lived “Off the grid” as cell service dropped. Forgotten projects came out as there was no “device distractions”; folks was forced to take a “staycation” day(s). Sunlight was plenty and chairs were pushed closer to windows and patio doors to work on the projects. Old ways of entertainment like playing cards and riding bikes outside entertained the teens and the kids.

There were trips to my son’s apartment for shower and dinner; and as the second day slipped into the third, the search for a generator that would run the Well for water became a necessity. People traveled far and near in search of one – and when they found more than one, grabbed all available ones to resell to friends and neighbors. A colleague picked up four in Boston and four more in PA 2 days later! When did generators became as casual as gallons of milk?

In all of this chaos, one of my neighbors even got married! We, as human beings, persist and persevere, for sure! I wonder if their vows included “ for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, in calm times and in storms…”???

We have seen many instances of kindness in these last few months - Isaias just reinforced that we are all undeniably human and lending a helping hand is part of our nature. Many hands reached out to help, friends, neighbors, acquaintances… willing to pitch in any way they can.

And once more, the inevitable happened – as soon as our generator landed (literally, as we tried to take down the 260 lb behemoth off the car!) on the driveway, the neighborhood chat blew up with someone texting a single word “Lights!!”. Ah what a relief it was!


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