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Facing cyclone fury

Facing cyclone fury
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When I was young enough to hop in and out of my sister’s class (who is elder to me) without getting enrolled, at Machilipatnam, that a terrific...

When I was young enough to hop in and out of my sister's class (who is elder to me) without getting enrolled, at Machilipatnam, that a terrific typhoon struck. The habitations nearer to the sea was called Bandar while the main town with Railway Station , Collectorate, National Hindu College etc was about 4-5 km away.

The only means of transportation available was bullock cart drawn by a single bull. Marking time was through a cannon fired at 12 noon every day. There was a pond in Bandar which got its filling from Krishna canal system.

My father was an expert swimmer both in still waters and the sea. Where such a facility existed he would have his daily bath and swim only at that place.

At Vizag for Magha snanalu, Sravana Poornima etc he would take the family with him. There, as part of multitude of people gathered there we used to have our 'samudra snanam'.

He used to go deep into the sea even when the sea was on high tide. Once or twice he carried me on his shoulder though I was scared to death.

Those days Machilipatnam was frequented by typhoons and cyclones just as Orissa coast in the present days. And one season, a typhoon brought its fury on Machilipatnam.

High velocity winds with incessant rain carried away the roof tiles of our house. There was a small table under which myself and my sister took shelter. That was the only dry place in the house.

In Bandar town houses even thatched ones were built on a high pedestal. You need to climb 8 to 10 steps to enter a house from the road. When cyclone vented its fury, streets turned into fast flowing rivers.

While every tile on our roof was carried away ,the securely built thatched house of our neighbour Shri Gurumurthy Sastry garu who was a Purohit was intact.

He had a milch cow in his house. They provided shelter and fed us with steaming rice, Avakaya (Mango pickle) and curd for 10 days till the cyclone passed over and our roof was replaced.

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