Water, Water, Everywhere

Two days ago, a mushroom sprouted out of our terrace wall overnight. Today, I noticed that there was fungal growth on the legs of the wooden stool we have in the shower. There is mold on all the grass mats that we had lining our room, as well as our dop kits in the bathroom. All our towels smell musty.

It has been raining pretty much non-stop ever since we got to Pondicherry on November 5 and “set up house”. That first evening, there were drops falling in one corner of our “closet”, and near the toilet in the bathroom, but we were snug and happy in the main room. By the second night, the drops started to fall in our main room, and we had to rearrange our bedding in an “L” shape that barely escaped the drops. On the third night, we moved downstairs to a room off the Shuddham offices because even though it was not raining hard outside, it was pouring in our apartment. That afternoon, we got two large plastic tarps and Mark covered about 80% of the roof, to no avail. The roof was cracked and saturated with water. And the rain kept falling – hard sometimes, soft at other times, really hard at least once a day.

It would’t be so bad if the falling drops inside the apartment were all clear drops of water. Then, there would only be the surprise of being splashed while walking in and out of the bathroom, and hurriedly going to the toilet. Unfortunately, in each room, there are sections where the drops are rust-colored, or even darker (tar?). And of course, I happen to be wearing white T-shirts. Or, now, white T-shirts haphazardly spotted with rust.

The folks at Shuddham can’t get over the fact that we want to stay where we are. We have been offered the apartment of the President of Shuddham, who is away on holiday with his family, and refuge at an Ashramite’s house a block away. Our friends are also shocked that we are harvesting rain water for tea, as well as for our showers, but this is our way of making lemonade.

The folks elsewhere in Tamil Nadu have it even worse. Today, we saw pictures in the Tamil Nadu edition of The Hindu of workers wading to work in water up to their waists in an industrial park near Chennai. Today’s edition of The Hindu is full of other stories of flooding in the suburbs of Chennai as well as in other parts of Tamil Nadu. Roads and bridges washed away, people flooded out of their homes, crops destroyed, tens of thousands of people being given emergency rations…

Tonight, we have some respite from the rain – I can see the quarter moon and a few stars – so I’ve freed the windows of their netting and left the doors open while we sleep downstairs again. But I understand that there is another low pressure system building which will hit coastal Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry with heavy or very heavy rain. And the forecast for Madurai: rain.

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