Compiled/partly written by Melvin Durai Email Compiled/partly written by Melvin Durai
January 2016

The floodwaters in Chennai have finally subsided, thankfully. Watching the TV news reports, all I could do was shake my head and wonder what it would be like to have so much rain that your entire city turns into a lake. I couldn’t imagine how people dealt with the water, so I decided to call two of my cousins and ask them.

Cousin Anand: “The flooding was terrible, but at least I picked up some new hobbies.”

Me: “What hobbies?”

Anand: “Swimming and boating.”

Me: “You learned how to swim?”

Anand: “I knew how to swim before, but I never got an opportunity like this.”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Anand: “Well, in the past, I would swim at a small swimming pool in my apartment complex. But the flood allowed me to do some long-distance swimming. I tried to swim across the entire city, but it wasn’t easy.”

Me: “Was the current too strong? Was there too much debris in the water?”

Anand: “No, people kept trying to rescue me. You won’t believe how many good Samaritans there are in Chennai. They thought I was being swept away, but I was just doing the breaststroke. Every time I passed people on the road, they would try to grab me. One man even threw a rope at me.”

Me: “Did you grab it?”

Anand: “No, I just kept swimming, so he shouted, ‘Shall I inform your next of kin?’”

Me: “Did anyone else swim?”

Anand: “Yes, I saw many people swimming. In fact, I will not be surprised if Chennai, as a result of this flood, manages to send a swimmer to the Olympic Games.”

Me: “What about boating? When did you do that?”

Anand: “I went boating several times with my friends.”

Me: “Where did you get the boat from?”

Anand: “Well, it wasn’t an actual boat. It was the bonnet of an old Honda that we found floating in the water. We just jumped in it and started paddling.”

Me: “What did you use as oars?”

Anand: “Cricket bats.”

Me: “And did you get very far on the boat?”

Anand: “Yes, we traveled all over our neighborhood. We even rescued three individuals.”

Me: “They must have been very grateful.”

Anand: “The dog was definitely grateful. I’m not sure about the goat and the rat.”

Me: “You rescued a rat?”

Anand: “Why not? Is a rat’s life less precious than a dog’s?”

While Anand was busy swimming and boating, my other cousin was busy looking for another place to live.

Cousin Kumar: “Let me give you a piece of advice, Melvin: if you rent an apartment in Chennai, do not rent one on the first floor. Mine got thoroughly flooded. Everything was underwater, even my TV.”

Me: “That must have been very hard.”

Kumar: “Yes, it was extremely difficult. To make matters worse, India was playing South Africa in cricket. Have you ever tried to watch a cricket match underwater?”

Me: “No, I never have. What did you do?”

Kumar: “Well, I went to my friend's apartment. Lucky bastard lives on the fifth floor. All these years, he has been envious of me, because I don’t have to use a lift to get to my apartment. But when the rains came, he envy just dissolved in the water.”

Me: “So have you found another place to live?”

Kumar: “No luck yet. All the apartments on top floors are in high demand. I may have to wait for a few months, until everyone has forgotten about the flood.”

Me: “You think they’ll forget so soon? This was the Flood of the Century. You won’t get another flood like this for at least five or ten years.”

Kumar: “That’s true. Maybe I should stay put for a few more years.”

Me: “You can also protect yourself against flooding.”

Kumar: “By getting flood insurance?”

Me: “No, by getting a ceiling mount for your TV. Trust me, you won’t regret it.”

Compiled and partly written by Indian humorist MELVIN DURAI, author of the novel Bala Takes the Plunge.
[Comments? Contributions? Please email us at melvin@melvindurai.com. We welcome jokes, quotes, online clips, and more.]

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