Pun Intended


The passage below, I wrote a week after my house flooded during Harvey, with both humor and heaviness:

For the past week I’ve been trying my best to avoid puns related to water. I never realized how many are out there! But I just can’t hold back the waters – if you will - any longer. So here it is, all in one gush.

What a whirlwind time of year it usually is - the end of summer, the beginning of school, followed up by Labor Day weekend. The shopping, the planning, the rushing, the scheduling, the vacationing. Little did we know that Harvey would rain on that parade! All plans evaporated and planes came to a grinding halt. From the initial shock at how much our city was affected, to the huge wave of relief that we evacuated early, to being inundated with Harvey on the news, Harvey on the to-do list, Harvey in conversation…it is hard to remember what antediluvian life was like. Our street was overflowing with activity, everyone wading through house contents, tearing out floors, once in a while pausing to chat with neighbors who were all in the same boat. As I stood out on my front lawn, neck-deep in the watery pile of damaged possessions, my mind was flooded with all sorts of thoughts, from guilt: Why did I accumulate so much stuff only to be dumped in a landfill? Why didn’t I give it away when I could? Why didn’t I raise things higher? To callousness: Who cares about shallow material wealth? Let’s throw it all out and finish the job. Who has the time to clean and restore? To nostalgia: Is this really the last time we will see that dresser? I wonder if my toddler will ever remember the house he was born in? Then a deluge of sadness followed by the cycle repeating again.

Then the larger picture sunk in – this storm had washed away all social strata – the great leveler - flushing doctors, lawyers, store clerks, housekeepers, technicians, teachers, children, pets out of their homes and out onto inflatable mattresses, headboards, rescue boats, garbage trucks, helicopters heading to evacuation shelters. The terror some felt, the courage some showed – we were immersed in the live telecasts in disbelief. Streams of people dove into relief action, mostly volunteers. In an outpour of aid, they opened up their homes, offered free professional services, donated supplies, babysat, delivered food, washed garments, and gutted out homes. We witnessed the fourth largest U.S. metropolitan city pooling together as one community. But for many pockets of Houston, the wake of Harvey was in reality, only a calm before the storm. The floodgates opened on unsuspecting neighborhoods as the reservoirs overfilled and surged through streets and homes. Hundreds of people are now underwater in debt and drowning in losses.

It’s hard to fathom what changes Harvey will bring to people’s lives. Some may move homes, schools, jobs. Some may start new businesses or rebuild better. Some may make new friends and say goodbye to old ones. Meanwhile, we will stay afloat until the tides turn, waiting for the new norm to settle in.


Deepa Ramachandran


Pun Intended


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Spatial Coverage

Braeswood Area

Temporal Coverage

start=2017-08-27; end=2017-08-29; scheme=ISO 8601;