It had rained heavily through most of last week and over Saturday.
During that time, diesel for the generator had run dangerously low but luckily the college had worked hard to get a tanker to fill the generator tank.
From Sunday the rain started to slow and Bobby’s mobile started to connect although only for a few minutes at a time.
The internet was also up intermittently and some TV channels began to get through. Bobby called home while I watched what had transpired in Chennai while we had been out of contact.
The army, navy and coastguard are involved in the largest flood relief effort in India’s history.
Power was still out over most of the city and we were still on generator power. Fuel is scarce, the international airport was still closed and no trains are running. The military airbase has been opened to ferry out the 4000 stranded passengers.
The news is filled with stories of the heroism and solidarity of the people of Chennai. An example is the hotel kitchens across the city that are staying open and working around the clock to produce food parcels for distribution. People of all faiths have opened their homes to the homeless together with temples, mosques, gurdwaras, churches and other places of worship.
Alongside are stories of such tragedy. Yesterday we heard that 18 patients in the ICU of one hospital sadly died when the generators and backup generators failed shutting off their ventilators.
During the complete comms outage, I had taken the opportunity to catch up on expenses and blogging which could be uploaded when the internet returned. Although in the last few days of the rains, intermittent comms returned, it was never enough time or speed to allow it to be used for large uploads. A day before full internet returned, my main laptop suffered a failure which could not be repaired and was probably brought about by the severe power fluctuations we were experiencing. Along with the laptop, I lost the data I had been preparing during the rains.
I have been spending every moment I can since trying to catch up but it is not yet complete. Internet speeds are still very slow and I fear most of the blog posts will not make it online until we are clear of the affected region and infrastructure (hence the delay in all of you getting these posts). Even the campus wired connection which I am sitting on now is not fast enough.
I have also been working hard on how the loss of time will affect the walk going forward and will share the results of this with you very soon.
The Chairman of the college came to visit Bobby and we spent a lot of time talking about various options that may be open to us for the walk route going forward.
I had also spoken to Dr Mei earlier and had stressed the need to have Bobby re-assessed as he had missed his appointments last week due to the rain and we could not get through to anyone for re-scheduling.
Dr Mei immediately called specialists at their medical hospital which was situated in a 250 acre site 6km away from our location. An appointment was booked and a taxi arrived within an hour to take us there. Vijay from the guest house staff accompanied us there and due to his contacts within the hospital and Dr Mei’s referral we were seen very rapidly.
It took over an hour to remove Bobby’s cast with the Surgeon commenting on the excellent quality og the cast and it’s application.Bobby was seen by no less than three specialists who decided in the end that he should have a crepe bandage applied and should walk very gradually and build up distance by walking around the campus for at least a week. The removal of the cast would delay the healing process but would not introduce any extra risk.
We were both happy and returned to the guest house with Bobby able to walk more easily on his bandages left foot.
I went to sleep that night happy with Bobby’s recovery process and prayed for the people of Chennai affected by the floods.