The warm Bay of Bengal: Friend or foe?
Ever since I can remember, the sea has been a source of relaxation and pleasure. From the time my aunt used to drive us through Green ways Road and across the old Adyar Brdige and down Annie Besant Road, through acacia groves to what was then Elliot’s Beach, now Besant Nagar beach. Of course, there was no Besant Nagar in those days, just the acacia trees, and the sighing of the wind through their branches, and the roar of the surf as you neared the sea. Buckets and spades would be taken, and a fine time had by all: the adults relaxing in the soft sand, while we kids built castles and shrieked as a high wave demolished them in one stroke. Teenage saw us frolicking in the sea on weekends, while adulthood saw weekends with the fledgling family at resorts near Mahabalipuram, where our kids did much what we had done thirty or more years ago. But the tsunami changed all that. Now any visit to the shore is fraught with imagined dangers. What if there is an earthquake in Indonesia and we don’t know about it? What do we do if the sea suddenly starts receding signaling an impending tsunami? What if there is no high ground nearby? The world has changed irrevocably in many ways. Sadly, so has our perception of the sea, which is so integral to living in Chennai. Brought home rudely to us with the tsunami warnings yesterday evening that left Marina deserted. As well as the second earthquake off Indonesia, and the subsequent tsunami warnings in the region this morning.