September 4th, 2008
The sky was clear and the sun was shining down. But the bad news was that a hurricane was on the move from the Cape Verde islands and was to hit Texas in just a week. The news channels were flooded with the news of when it would reach our house and whether we needed to evacuate. They were calling it the Hurricane Ike. Was I scared? I asked myself. It had been a year now, living in this house and the thought of it getting destroyed by a gust of wind and thunderstorm seemed unimaginable. The news had warned us about how nasty the situation could get and how we could make through it. But that didn’t help much except it just made me frightened.
September 10th, 2008
We are prepared. Dad has stocked up food in the house and we have even bought a DVD player to avoid the boredom of confinement inside the house. The swimming pool has been drained out so no more swimming for some time. The society has set up cooking utensils in the laundry room to be used during the power failures and we have filled our bathtubs with water to deal with water shortage. A strange silence has settled in the air as people begun putting boards at their windows and piling up their possessions.
September 12th, 2008
I have a feeling that something is wrong today. I can almost sense the oncoming blow. The sky is of an eerie grey color. The dark clouds shroud the sky and there is no sun. Even though Houston isn’t going to suffer the most damage as the hurricane will hit nearby in Galveston still everyone is afraid… afraid of the future… afraid of what might happen next. And the question hangs whether they will live tomorrow. But I am not thinking of all that. Tonight we will not sleep in our room as it has large glass windows instead we will sleep in the living room. There is no power or water from now on until the hurricane dies down.
I guess when you face a problem then only you realize the gravity of the situation. That is exactly what happened with me. Just before sleeping I was annoyed with everyone creating hype about this hurricane. What else will you expect from a 10 year old? But that night I didn’t sleep a bit. Outside the window, the rain fell hard on the ground, the clouds thundered like never before and the wind howled with a deafening noise. I heard the crash of broken glass and another noise that I couldn’t comprehend. Now I was really scared. I said a quick prayer and tried to get some sleep. The whole night the wind blew outside the window with so much force that I was almost sure that the glass would give away. I huddled closer to my sister for some warmth and comfort. I dared myself to get up and take a look out of the window. I got up slowly and with heavy steps made my way to the window. Everything was dark outside. It was almost as if ours was the only house amidst the darkness. I could see nothing. I heard the rain battering down the glass. Usually I would have admired the sound of falling raindrops and the smell of the wet sand but tonight was different. It seemed as if a hungry monster lurked outside devouring everything in its path. I stood trembling there for some time and then I hurried back to the safety of my bed.
September 13th, 2008
The hurricane had hit us at 2:10 am in the morning and was a dangerous Category 2. The wind was now dead calm and the sky was still without the sun. We went outside to witness the damage. The sight was painful. The evidence of the overnight storm surge was laid out in front of us. There was no swimming pool glistening in the sun instead it was now full of waste, broken branches and what not. Shards of broken glass were scattered around and a part of the roof was lying in the parking area. The cleaning crew had already come in and had begun picking up the debris. Now I fathomed that the incomprehensible voice I heard last night was the breaking of the roof due to which some houses were flooded. I shuddered at the thought of someone getting hurt. Luckily, our house had not suffered any damage and was still intact. My eyes followed a squirrel scampering around the waste. It looked so cute, so innocent. I wondered whether its family had survived the calamity. I looked around and saw that many people were outside and enquiring about everyone’s safe health. We walked over to the group. Everyone was unusually cheery and asked how we were and whether we had suffered any harm. It felt overwhelming. Most of us were neighbors but were talking for the first time. The group included the society’s Chinese, Turkish, Japanese, Koreans, and Spanish etc. Our society finally felt united.
Since there was no water or electricity, mom had to go to the laundry room where the society had set up a stove and other needs to cook our food. Mom came back surprisingly in high spirits. She had brought with her various different dishes. She told us that everyone in the ‘kitchen’ had shared their food to try the different tastes. The food was great. I was pleased that eventually everything had turned out to be fine, but I still felt irritated and exasperated. Mom asked if I was ok and I casually replied that I was fine. But I didn’t really feel fine. I longed for the sun to come out, I longed to watch TV, longed to get out of this house and play and most of all I was desperate for everything to be normal again.
September 18th, 2008
Dad gave the solution for my trouble. We were going to get away from the boredom and escape to San Antonio. The irony of it all was that we had not left home when the situations were worse and now when we were suffering from boredom we decide to take off. After all the days of getting up in the morning to bring tea from Starbucks, the US Chaiwala, waiting in lines in the laundry room to cook food and taking sponge baths we would finally live normally.
I was told that everything happens for good. I guess that this Hurricane Ike came as a blessing in disguise. We got to know our neighbors, make new friends and a friendly mood was created within the society. Above all, we were going to take another vacation and explore the mysterious caves of San Antonio.
- Experienced and written by Sonal Gupta, a class nine student and that makes her youngest writer on board GingerChai.