Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cyclones in Vizag

I love storms. They were definitely the most exciting part of growing up in Vizag. They would begin with howling gales and end in steady rain for days together. As a child I would thrill at the pitter-patter of the first raindrops and the smell of the earth rising through the air and penetrating closed windows into muggy rooms. When the clouds took a break, the whole city would look washed and clean: the leaves greener and the roads greyer. There was hardly any water-clogging like there is in larger cities that have more concrete to hinder the earth from absorbing all the water that the clouds had released.

It was the wind before the rain, however, that was most exciting. It would howl on for hours, rattling windows, smashing the panes, uprooting trees and even twisting iron poles. After the storm, we would learn of fishermen lost at sea and ships stranded in the port.

The Vizagapatam district gazetteer too has many references to cyclones in the area. In fact, Mr. Francis says droughts wreaked havoc in many parts of India but it was the rain that did the most damage in Vizag.