Chennai: In the 11 years of Deccan Chronicle in Chennai there was never probably one like the last. The year 2015 was unique in the sense it tested the city the most. The natural calamity that hit the metropolis before the year ran out swamped the city but didn’t kill its spirit. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger is a belief that has served the human race well.
The spirit that drove Chennai to emerge from the deluge not unscathed but the wiser for it was what made it stand out. The Deccan Chronicle is proud it stood by the city in those stressful times and did what all Chennaiites did – defy the odds to prove that man’s resilience helps take on the biggest challenges.
As the flood waters swamped the city, normal life for lakhs of people in Chennai was torn apart. How the city recovered from it all was a story of collective courage, beginning with the humblest of people right up to the high and mighty who were also not spared by the swirling waters. Newspapers had a particularly difficult time in handling the daily logistics of an essential industry that must deliver without fail in each 24-hour cycle.
While the city went without newspapers for a couple of days at the peak of the December 1-2 rain and floods, distribution was hazardous even after the presses were up and running in the face of great odds, more so as newspapers were still not reaching areas cut off by the water.
The Deccan Chronicle was hit by power shutdown and fibre optics internet connectivity due to flooding. The reporters met the challenge by keeping themselves wired to events despite all the problems with mobile connectivity and the news desk was run form my home for five days. It was a scene straight
out of tech start-ups with 20 people cramming into an apartment, which was
the only possible working place since the Airtel internet connectivity through telephone cable was on without interruption and the TNEB were helpful in ensuring continuous power. The logistics of reaching milk for tea and coffee, probably the most essential newsroom feedstock, besides food and water
were splendidly handled by the management team.
An engineer would rush to office on his bike close to midnight with the pages in a flash drive and the power would be cranked up with gensets to get
the presses running. Since TNEB power could not be restored in the printing press because of flooding in the power room, Deccan Chronicle had to procure diesel and get it across the flooded Adyar and find novel ways to get the newspapers across to the vans for distribution. The operations were a minor miracle and had to be undertaken in order to reach our dear readers with all that
was happening in a chaos-ridden city just limping back to normalcy as the waters slowly receded.
The experience brought the crew of the newsrooms together much more.
There is nothing like a crisis to make us more empathetic even as Deccan Chronicle strove to keep bringing out the newspaper for close to a week be
fore normalcy was restored. The story of the city striving to cope was even greater. The volunteers who manned the roads to warn motorists of
hazards and those who sat and packed the food for hours on end to get the packets moving to the worst affected were the new heroes. Their selflessness in difficult times was
In 11 years we have seen the city change in many ways and Deccan Chronicle also contributed to dynamic change by being a lively catalyst.
Today we salute our readers for not only making our journey so
fulfilling but also for the bravery with which they have faced one of the worst crises to grip Chennai in 11 years, making the tsunami of 2004 and the rain of 2005 seem like second grade disasters. As we move on into what should be another eventful year in which Assembly elections are to be held in the
state, Deccan Chronicle would like to reiterate its commitment to good