The incident happened almost a decade back while we were still in college and didn’t sign up yet for the corporate rat race. It’s probably too late to post now but nevertheless it will be a record. Remember, the word tsunami was introduced to Indians only after this calamity.
26 Dec 2004 – Sunday
Unlike the present time Sundays in anyway, we used to get up early and play cricket in the Marina Beach – the second longest beach in the world. People were allowed to play cricket in those times in the beach. It was just like any other Sunday and our team Triplicane Tigers Criket Team (TTCT) was playing against one of the three usual rival teams. Our team batted first and had scored low. Its time for fielding.
As I am a good fielder and I could throw well, I was standing in the sweeper cover area. Its the sand area and one can dive to catch the ball without any fear. I was facing the pitch showing my back towards the Indian Ocean. All of a sudden people in front started looking at the ocean and shouting in confusion. I gradually turned back and observed that a herd of cow, buffaloes, dogs and horses came running towards us. That was weird. On looking further, I was shocked. That was unbelievable.
What I saw the sand was slowly giving in and the boundary was becoming small. Then it took me half a minute to understand that it was not the sand that was giving in but the water that was slowly, very slowly, creeping towards us. This is nothing like anything that I have heard or seen. Survival Instincts kicked in and I took my slippers in hand and started running fast towards the shore. My home was about 5 minutes from the main road. The distance between the ocean and the main road was about 1.5 kms and thank god, we were playing hardly 100 meters away from the main road. Few of my friends were struggling to take their bikes and get out on the main road. This was one of those times when I was very grateful for not owning a bike. All my friends were almost in the verge of vacating the place and I waved to them. Crossing the main road, I turned back and saw that the water had crawled up and covered half of the beach. Then started sprinting towards my home.
I reached at home in 5 minutes running between the cows and buffaloes. My younger brother was sleeping. My parents had gone to my hometown in the south. Didn’t bother to check tv. The only thing going through my mind was go to a safe place away from the beach. I woke my brother up and we got ready in a jiffy and got a bus and reached T.Nagar which is half an hour drive from my place. On the way, I called up my parents and told them that water was coming in and we are going towards t.nagar. We didn’t know the intensity of the event or how many people were impacted. We didn’t have anywhere to go so we called one more friend and went to a movie ‘7G – Rainbow colony’. It would have been a good movie any other day but that day it was a torture. It was such a drag. Then after the movie got over, we called up couple of our friends to ensure that the ocean water did not come in near our home and went back home.
We switched on the tv and the first thing we learnt was that this is called Tsunami. Next that it was caused by an earth quake in Indian ocean near Sumatra. Next that it was common in Japan but India never expected it. The Indian Ocean Earth quake and tsunami had killed over 230,000 people across fourteen countries. The place where were playing had a sand strech of 1.5 kms from the sea to the road. So it was the least impacted. It had killed hundreds of people in the fishermen slum that was barely 10 kms away from the place where we played. Even there, lot of people who stood and watched instead of running lost their lives. The cars were thrown elsewhere. We found one car on a tree. It was a sad day for the people living along the coastal areas in Tamil Nadu, orissa, Andhra, Sri lanka, Andaman and nicobar, Indonesia and other south east asian countries. We also learnt that the water creeping in was not a characteristic of tsunami. It usually creates waves upto 100ft. And when saw the various videos of the tsunami we were just astounded by the power of the nature.
Below picture shows the aerial view of beach. The inner road is where we were playing.
Here is the picture taken during the tsunami by somebody. This is the area between the inner road and the main road.
Below is the aerial shot of the marina beach after the tsunami
To read more about the Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami, please visit this wiki page
Here is sample video showing the impact of the tsunami:
I am most fortunate to have survived this nature’s fury. Even thinking about it now gives me goosebumps!
After this tsunami event, we heard that one of our friends was hurt due to Tsunami. We were bewildered because he did not turn up for the match. Then he revealed the entire story. He was woken up by the news that sea water was inundating the shore and a curious guy as he is, he went to terrace and climbed up the overhead tank to take a look at the beach. (Beach is visible from his terrace). In the process of peeking to get a better view, he slipped fell from the overhead tank down to the terrace and fractured his arm. Till date, on 26-dec we tease him in facebook by celebrating this arm-broken anniversary. 😀