It was raining, a swarm of mosquitoes took over the vicinity and people had just the pavements to sleep on – but none of this deterred a few hundred AIADMK cadres and Amma fanatics from staying overnight at the Apollo hospitals in Chennai.
After an announcement from the hospital that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had suffered a cardiac arrest on Sunday evening, cadres started thronging Greams road in Chennai.
As senior ministers and MLAs too kept steadily trickling in, anxiety grew.
"What is happening to our Amma? Why did they say she has recovered? Prathap Reddy said that many times and it came on news in Sunday evening. My mother-in-law is 95, Amma is not of the age to fall so ill," says Loritta, an AIADMK member who had slept the night on the pavement. She had rushed from Ennore on Sunday night.
Not just cadres and leaders, the media too kept a night long vigil outside Apollo hospital.
Lokpria V, Senior Correspondent with English news channel News X said, "I was live on-air from 11 pm to 2 am and we had to give a running commentary. But this had to be done with very less information on hand. In the back of my mind, I kept thinking that I should not exaggerate, and should just focus on the facts given the sensitivity of the situation."
Lokpriya V, News X
A Abinesh, senior correspondent with Tamil news channel News18 Tamil Nadu was on his day-off when he got the information that the chief minister has taken ill. "I was at the hospital by 8pm and spent all night here. I managed to go to office, take a shower and return with an extra set of clothes. Although I haven't eaten dinner or breakfast, I am not hungry."
While the media have been barricaded on one side of the street, across the road, party workers stand in a line in the hope for any information.
Emerald Venkateshwaran travelled with his friends and fellow party-men overnight from Salem. "We have not slept a wink last night. How can we? Please give us good news," he pleads.
S Malia has come from Chidambaram. "I came with whatever money I had. I hadn't even changed clothes. I had just one glass of tea from yesterday evening, I will eat only when I get good news on Amma,” she says.