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Tamil Nadu - Chennai Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

A blessing and cause of discomfort too

By Akhila Seetharaman

CHENNAI, MAY 5. After the endless stream of sweaty, sultry, sunny days, city-dwellers welcomed the gloomy weather with open arms and umbrellas. Thanks to the depression over the Arabian Sea, the heat-crazed month of May and the Tamil `Agni Nakshatram' began on an uncharacteristically cool and wet note.

Plastic bags found their purpose as the cheapest rain-protection gear, and the streets were dotted with heads covered with plastic.

``I'm glad it is raining but I don't want to catch a cold,'' said P. Selvi, a domestic worker, clad in her usual sari with a plastic bag pulled over her head. The rains, for Selvi and her family who live in a hut, also mean leaking roofs, seepage and stagnant water.

``Although the rains are a blessing and bring a sense of physical and mental relief, they do cause a lot of discomfort for the average person,'' said Preeti Watwani, a businesswoman. The rain only worsens existing problems with the infrastructure, she said.

Pedestrians leapt across puddles; were splashed by passing vehicles; many returned home drenched and late. Stranded motorists took shelter under large trees and the awnings of buildings.

Road-side businesses were most affected; in some cases, literally washed out. Pavement book-sellers had no choice but to pack and unpack their wares, over and over again. The rain ruins business, said an irate book-seller on Anna Salai.

But others like Shyamala Sashiraman, a housewife, are very happy. ``In fact, when the sun came out today, everyone hoped it would go away. I just hope it continues. If it does, maybe it will help the water situation.''

``It feels like a holiday,'' said Cheruba Devaraj, a public relations executive. ``The weather makes you want to sleep a little longer in the morning and wear the clothes you would not be able to wear otherwise.''

Chennaiites whipped out their waterproof jackets, raincoats and in some cases, even sweaters.

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