As a Keralite or rather as a human being, I shouldn’t be writing this now. Or maybe I should, because in a way there is no better time than this. I have known thousands of people including my dearest friends risking their lives and helping others out on the ground to rescue people from flood sites in Kerala and take them to the safety of relief centers. Moreover, I am one of the people who have been burning midnight oil and working our asses off to coordinate remotely with the volunteers on the site to make sure rescue requests reach them and necessary amenities reach the relief centers. That gives me a teensy bit of privilege to give a piece of my mind to some absolute jerks. I understand they form hardly 1-2% of the entire population of the state. But that still needs to be addressed because there is another 98-99% that is fighting this calamity hand in hand. So on behalf of all the good people out there, here goes! Pardon me for my language if you feel it is offensive at times; but these morons do deserve that. It’s a shame I can’t meet them in person and say this to their faces.
I really do not want to dig into the whole “whose fault was this disaster” question. This is definitely not the time. And it is not for me to judge anyone else either because whatever human factor is responsible for this, we are all equally a part in it. But at least some part of this disaster could have been averted if people chose to listen to the authorities and act according to the alert given to them. There were genuine victims trapped without even a chance to leave, yes. But there were also a lot of know-it-alls who decided that they didn’t have to leave their houses when the alert came; instead chose to climb to the top floor and wait until the water receded. And a lot of them did that – for 4-5 whole days, without food, without water, without electricity, at the mercy of nature. I personally know people like this. Next time someone tells you that you need to leave before the water level rises, turn off your brains and just follow the herd. Because there might not be a next time after that!
Now, we can still forgive that. Because from the moment they became trapped, they also became victims. And we were all trying to help them out, irrespective of how they landed in the situation in the first place. We worried about them and kept looking for a way out. We kept hearing people complaining about the lack of rescue resources and asking for simply any way out. But when the rescue teams did reach them, risking their lives and braving so many obstacles, there have been people who literally asked them to “come back in one hour” because they were not done doing whatever they were doing in their semi-drowned houses. Yeah, giving a time slot to the rescue teams to get your sorry ass out of a house that is going down – excellent move! How these rescue volunteers still managed to deal with such people politely is beyond me.
When choppers arrived to airlift the trapped people, there were so many who savagely opposed the action because they were scared that choppers landing would destroy their houses and land. Not just that, when a group of girls who were trapped in a hostel were about to be airlifted, an angry mob consisting of women rushed up to them and beat the girls up, black and blue. You don’t believe me? Search online – you will find the videos. Not wanting to save yourselves is a choice we leave up to you. In a way, it is better for the world too I believe. But not letting others save themselves? Definitely not your choice. If when all of this is over, these hooligans are not arrested, I am going to share these videos with the authorities until they are!
Then there are smart-asses who think flagging down a rescue chopper, having the soldiers get down on the roof and then clicking a quick selfie with them before saying “Tataaa” is extremely funny, that too in a life and death situation for the soldiers and other victims. I say, they should have just grabbed him by his collar, taken him aboard the chopper and pushed him out when they were high enough. The fact that I would actually have done that is why I am not there and those professional soldiers are. I mean, being trapped and isolated in an all-engulfing flood – what more do you need to be a little serious, you wretched creature?
And even after having a narrow escape from death, people still don’t learn the importance of listening to the authorities and following instructions. Someone spreads uncertain news that water levels are receding and bam! They had to run back to check on the condition of their houses. I do understand the feeling of losing everything and having to start from scratch. But did you really have to do it in the middle of this when there were still other people waiting to be rescued and when there were still threats of imminent flooding all over again? You know what you achieved? You managed to waste the time and energy of the rescue volunteers who had to beg, coax and fight with you to stay away from the risky areas and go back to the safe zones when they combed the alert areas for more survivors. And in the process, genuine victims ended up not getting help when they needed. All because you felt “I” and “mine” was more important than “we” and “ours”.
The pettiness, the cunningness, the downright cruelty did not end there.
- There were “online crusaders” hell-bent on spreading more and more rumours and fake messages to create chaos and panic among an already negative crowd.
- There were people who I can only call thieves who were impersonating camp volunteers and stealing food from collection points, to be hoarded for later.
- There were assholes asking for immediate mobile phone recharge from those doing it for free, even from abroad, saying it was for an emergency situation, and sharing game links with the same helping souls after getting the recharge done.
- There were merchants overpricing essential goods and taking advantage of the misery and helplessness of others.
- There were scoundrels who kept hailing Uber rides from bars and other such places in the pretext of handing over collected relief goods to the Uber drivers, that Uber had to revoke the free collection service they had started – something that could have helped a lot.
- There were scumbags who took the opportunity to bring poor Gods, the rapist Bishop, validity of atheism, culling of stray dogs and even eating beef into explaining why the calamity happened in “God’s Own Country”.
- There were phoney admirers who belittled the sincere and heroic efforts of the fishermen by praising them only to demean the efforts of the equally sincere and heroic soldiers, policemen and other rescue officials.
- And then, of course, there were pathetic politicians who were more concerned about looking like a failure in the upcoming elections if they brought in proper rescue teams, and kept dodging the questions by putting the blame on each other, and those who tried to proved that they were doing more than they actually were, and as always, their faithful followers defending them. Perfect time to spread political propaganda!
I have only one thing to tell all of you jackasses. With or without you, Kerala is going to come back up, soon. With or without you, we are all going to help each other build up life from scratch. With or without you, we will be the ultimate winners. And as for you, let me tell you from the bottom of my heart – YOU WILL ROT IN HELL!
Also published on Medium.