Nov 15 2005
Oops, where am I landed, Nature's fury is so bad - am seeing the complete devastation of Wilma on my way to first day in 'onsite' office.
Nov 16 2005
Oh my goodness, even here, there are visible destruction
Dec 1 2005
Most of the work done and life seems as usual. The painful sight of hanger down in Executive Airport near office is yet to be cleaned.
A complete 'Hurricane survival' note is on my table for read and proactive action that needs to be taken
Jan 31 2006
Miami Intl Airport
Finally, after all the paperworks, Poorani is coming here to join me. Being newly married, and away for 3 months, all I forgot at this evening as I stand here.
Feb 4 2006
Saturday Morning, after a long time, woke up by coffee aroma. Switched on the TV for some news, the power went down for a moment. some circuit issue, came back quickly. Started explaning all the electrical connections and how 120V 60 Hz is powerful than 220V 50 Hz and the famous Edison move to use AC current for first electric chair to prove how hazardous it is....
Topic moved on to the paper in my table 'Hurricane Survival Guide' and my explanation kindled her curiosity more
The word Hurricane is not new to Indians in general and this is so attributed that most rural areas still use the word 'arikane lamp' derived from Hurricane Lamp that is prevelantly used when bullock carts were the only means of transport as the head lamp. Also at the time of power cut.
Though the word Hurricane itself gives a bad feeling, in reality it is not so - if there were no hurricanes, the climate as well as the fresh water reserves are some good factors at least.
There are historic hurricanes that have changed the world. Hurricanes are the ultimate power show of wind.
All the hurricanes will rotate counter-clock wise in northen hemisphere.
When wind meets water, especially ocean, they form an alliance and when they come near land, somehow land doesn't go with their alliance, result - huge sudden storm surge - a big wave of water backed by air entering coastal area at a moment - heavy destruction is possible
Water - it is denser than we think of, two feets of water on the road can easily topple the car.
When situations of flash flood or storm surge, do not think it is easier to walk/swim in water. The accumulated water contains debris of all kinds and can give a deep pierce to legs. The pressure of water will be so high as well as the water will be too cold than we imagine.
Enough said - I took my shower and went ahead for my morning jogging.
When am back, the first question was startling - "How soon can we go far from here?"
I was like - "Are you mad? its just couple of months in this project - and that I have just took over AML, all these hurricanes are not be worried that heavily, see around, millions are around, check our neighbor - they have 3 dogs and 2 parrots, already in their late 60s. If they brave the storm, can we not?
"Stop it, I didn't say flea from here for ever, I said, do you know the evacuation route? how soon can we get in to it and how far can we go from here"
"Oh don't worry, you are in US, the government will take care, now, I want no more storm talk here - do you understand - and also switch on the movie I downloaded Yesterday - let's watch over the brunch - will you"
June 03 2006
Brisk Saturday Morning, as like any other day, started the day out to buy indian veggies. On way back, picked up whole bunch of mails from the mail box - its been a week, haven't checked mails. Was so hungry, so picked up all of them to sort at home. Threw all those at the Sofa and sat in carpet. Great idlies with chutney and sambhar really kindled hunger in top gear. Poorani was peering through all the mails -
"Just see the FPL bill and any other payables, rest all goes to trash - may be to the blue tagged one - to recycle bin"
"This is interesting"
"What's that? all the sale will have hidden price - check out completely"
"This is no sale, this is notice from Coconut Creek on what to do when hurricane strikes"
"What, you mean we need to stay indoors, no open windows, blah blah"
"No - what are all needed for us, which is the evacuation route, what is the local emergency phone number, nearest safe place...."
"Oh my god!.. We don't need them, worst case, we will jump in the car and zzzoooomm, we go away from this place"
"it is not that simple, tell me which highway will you take"
"Come on, I will take I-95, will travel to Washington DC - happy?!"
"Do you know, last year, traffic was so bad in I-95 when hurricane came in, nothing moved for couple of hours - more over, I-95 is so close to mighty Atlantic Ocean, keep that in mind"
"Forget it, we will take Turnpike - it goes through midlands of Florida - now am going for 'park walk' will you be coming or keep reading this piece of what ever to get your BP high and keep dreaming of panic struck FLL"
Thank god! I diverted her, these girls are always taking things so seriously, after all, Florida and Hurricane are like Tharumi and Varumai, we will get to see what happens then
June 04 2006
"Am awake, it's first sunday of the month, your turn Poorani - have you started preparing coffee yet" - I was searching for remote switch on the TV.
She was smiling before me.
"What - no excuse, we stick to the rule, odd sundays of the month you cook break fast and coffee and for me even sundays - hope you remember clearly"
I personally hate those even sundays of the month - need to get up and make break fast / coffee.
Luckily most months had smaller number of even sundays than odd sundays - I promise, I didn't know when we made this agreement...
"Yes my lord, today is my turn, no doubts, but I thought of adding more fun"
"What, you will also do wash clothes, press them, vacuum the carpet end to end, clean the filter, shower the car, vacuum the car, make some hot samosas for snack and leave me happily in this sofa?! - so nice to have you as my wife"
" I thought you are awake, stop dreaming, my fun is this - you will drink coffee alone - then there won't be power - tell me how to cook without electricity"
"what nonsense, we will not have power cuts here, this is no bangalore/delhi to cut the power in summer"
"I told you, we will have fun by switching off the power for today whole day"
"Then how will we get our food, TV, remember - today your parents may come online for chat"
"I already left them a message we will not be available - do you know why we will do this - a rehearsal of what will happen if suddenly hurricane strikes here with minimal notice"
I totally forgot - power will go off if hurricane strikes and may not come for days, here even the kitchen stove glows through electricity
"Okay - this is too short a notice, we shall have this next weekend and we will buy all necessary items during this week and celebrate hurricane rehearsal next week - now please go ahead, switch on the boom box and start preparing breakfast"
June 09 2006
Totally forgot of the promise, I suddenly realized, started purchasing. We made couple of lists and where to buy
We chose a portable gas stove and couple of refills,two 20 gallon water bottles, 24 half pint water bottles, canned vegetables, UHT milk, tea bags, instant coffee powder, multi purpose flour, snacks, dried fruits, batteries, torch light, small radio, candles, candle lighter.
Then started arranging our documents, valuebles, and all important ones in one bag.
We made a Emergency storage bin in the corner of our hall and added all that we bought.
We went again to buy a 10 gallon gasoline can, jump start wires, tools box, spare keys, glass cutter (to cut the car window if we get struck and water raises), whistles (every one knows the titanic end)- Poorani thought a little creative here and bought a mouth organ - useful even when there are no hurricanes
aah - we forgot the medicines, we packed all needed medicines
Wow, the rain coats, at least one set of clothes, some plastic bags, swiss army knife.
I secretly added a bottle of lemon pickles and some books to read.
Poorani prepared some spicy coconut powder, strong tamarind sambhar, peanut brittle, heavy curd, carrot splits, all herb rasam, and more...
I switched on the cofee maker with lots of powder to get the extra strong cofee. Carefully dripped all coffee to airtight jar and placed aside.
I added all those "ice-packs" and ice to create a make-shift fridge using the thermocoal cooler box that we bought for beach party sometime back.
Grabbed milk, condiments, fruits, fruit-pie, mashed potato, and dumped inside the cooler.
I sadly shut down my computer. As a safety measure, we decided to switch off all except fridge. And a vow to not to open the fridge.
June 10 2006
This is not like other Sundays. I woke up so early and already feeling thirsty. Poorani has already woken up and done the switch off ceremony. I feel the heat without A/C.
With a moment in pause, I sprang up in action. Went inside the rest room, to find myself in complete wow - the bath tub is full with luke warm water. I saw some crystal like white powder deep inside - Thought of bublle bath mix and yelled "Poorani, this is great idea"
"What is so great about filling bath tub and adding some sodium bicarbonate - this shall act as disinfectant - remember to use the water cautiously - this should last for a week" she said with a wink
"Oh!.. I thought, we shall use this time for a bubble bath or something - anyway, we have all food ready and nothing to see/watch/work"
"Come out quickly, the coffee is getting cold"
"Am here, " I jumped and followed to the balcony - what another great place - The beach umbrella is already planted. The gas stove has found its place on top of our plastic table - both the beach chairs are placed neatly along with the travel coffee mug - the one I use in car.
"Poorani you are great - when did you do all these?"
"Thanks for the compliment - but remember at the time of hurricanes all these needs to be moved inside otherwise, they will act as projectiles so drink the coffee fast and get ready to pack them up"
"no no let these be here, otherwise how will we cook our lunch?"
"oh, now start thinking if the hurricane is going to make a landslide this afternoon - what will you do"
"You are one of the horrible creatures - you gonna starve me the whole day? then why the hell we prepared all those - oh wait!.. I got it, let's pack all these and get in"
I quickly peered in and found some chappatis there - rolled chappatis with carrot splits, pickles, heavy curd, coconut chutney. Took the disposable serving plate and arranged the chappatis.
"Señorita... tomarlo, por favor"
"mucha gracias Señor, how about a drink?"
I searched in the cooler to grab the coco-water cans and threw one at her.
somehow the time is not moving that much. we tried checking the radio
By noon, we planned a little more....
packed all needed stuff including valuebles and started driving assuming we needed to evacuate
went deep in central florida on the north banks of lake ockachoobee and halted there.
Had a nice scenic view as well as no electronic disturbance.
Spoke a lot on our way back as the DVD player also was stowed to conserve battery.
Till today I never had another chance like that Sunday - more free time than ever as well as the well preparedness inside mind threw the panic away
Check out yourself and you may feel better.
We decided to call in for a party by November end with all our friends nearby. Every one asked "why a party suddenly?, any surprise"
"No no.. its just been a long time, that's about it"
Only we know we wanted to spend all the hurricane groceries to buy in fresh stuff next year march.
Thanks a lot to hurricane season, we had lot of good time. We also pray, we never have to implement this in real time scenario and this is always in UAT stage.