For the past two days, the weather had been literally like the lull before the storm and then it started drizzling since last evening. This morning had been rather pleasant working in the kitchen with the sliding doors opened. The water had an optimum temperature, loved washing my hands in the running tap water. This is my second summer going into monsoon in the city, I am sure these would be small mercies any Mumbaikar would look forward to at this time of the year, but this time the pandemic stricken financial capital of the country is also bracing for a cyclone. Something it has not witnessed in recorded history.

I have been checking the app tracing the path of the landfall for Nisarga dutifully every few hours and as I sit to write this, rains have intensified a bit. My son is halfway through building his beach castle with the mega blocks, in the living room. Is too much awareness the cause of so much anxiety, I think? I have tried my best to add the word cyclone to his vocabulary but he prefers to believe it is something to do with cycling and not the rains.

Also Read: The Longest and Shortest Night: Cyclone Amphan in the midst of a pandemic

Reading about Cyclone Amphan and having a significant number of family members brave through it I am full of anxiety.

Candles, matchboxes, torches, cells, dry food everything has been procured. Doors have been checked and locked. All loose items, hanging decorations have been removed from balconies or whatever you have in place of them in a Mumbai house. Phones and power banks have been charged. Stay safe messages by friends, family, co-workers have been replied.

Reading about Cyclone Amphan and having a significant number of family members brave through it I am full of anxiety.

In our efforts to stay on top of the thing, being aware and making informed decisions are we inviting too much anxiety for ourselves? Should a natural calamity strike how prepared can we be? Close to half of Greater Mumbai lives in slums, can we move them to safer places while we are also dealing with a pandemic? As I read the warning thatched roofs may be damaged and unattached metal sheets may fly due to strong cyclonic winds, I look at the series of blue plastic covered rooftops of the nearby “gaun” from where all the domestic helps used to come I wonder what they will do? The pandemic has not just taken away their livelihoods but hopes from their lives too. A city which never sleeps has been indoors for two months. Nisarga brings in warnings for floods in certain areas as well.

Close to half of Greater Mumbai lives in slums, can we move them to safer places while we are also dealing with a pandemic?

I am not a rain person, I find humidity unbearable, it has never thrilled me to walk in muddy water, call me uptight if you want. But that is a discussion for another time and place. How much disaster are we yet to see is a more pressing question here. And what can we do to avert it? Is it too late to course-correct? I don’t want to skip 2020 when I am looking back at my life. The landfall near Alibaug has started, the winds have become stronger, the next few hours will tell its own tales in the headlines tomorrow, I hope they bring stories of hope.

Also Read: Odisha Women Learn Life-Saving Skills In Times Of Cyclone

The views expressed are the author’s own.

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