By Anush Rajasekaran
The word 'Bengaluru' has hardly ever evoked any feeling in me. Popular associations - cold weather, beer, traffic jams perhaps, at most. And the role of the occasional antagonist in the Cauvery issue, at least according to us Chennaiites.
Then we had the deluge. And a humble realization dawned on me that Bengaluru was way more than just that.
When you are experiencing something like this, you expect you might be all alone and taking on something you cannot handle. It really fills you with a feeling of helplessness.
Having been involved in relief work across the city, I found in the people of Bengaluru, friends and saviours. They came together to help a city in need. They rallied behind fellow Bengalureans to extend support to us through donations, trucks with essentials such as food, potable water, medicine, blankets and a much-needed boost to rescue operations on the ground, while we were still waiting for electricity, cable connection, and some sunshine to come. All we had to do was identify the areas that needed supplies.
Their support didn't stop there. India's IT city stepped up with a clever use of social media. Helpline numbers were assigned and communication on Twitter was streamlined through a few hashtags such as #BangaloreforChennai, thanks to which information was easy to track and help reached those in need.
Some Bengalureans created a blog that relied on reliable yet crowd-sourced content, mapping flooded roads, traffic flow and diversions to avoid traffic, while some others took up the responsibility of verifying information that was floating around the internet (I'm sure you would have seen the #verified tag attached to several tweets).
If all this wasnâ€™t enough, the people of Bengaluru opened their homes to the displaced and people traveling from Chennai to Bengaluru were put up in hotels for free as well, till they could get back on their feet.
There's so much relief and rehabilitation work that still needs to be done before Chennai can return to normalcy but things are better now, and I am convinced that we couldnâ€™t have done it without you, Bengaluru.
I am in awe of the support we have received from the unlikeliest of places.