Water…water everywhere. Jaanakka looked out of the window of the government primary school where a few hundred wet, hungry and tired people were given shelter. Her stomach rumbled loudly reminding her that it was 48 hours since she had had anything solid inside her. Of course, the relief workers had given her a bowl of hot ganji yesterday, but as she was about to drink it, her eyes made contact with those of a young woman. The stark hungry look in her eyes made Jaanakka pause. Her eyes looked the woman over, right down to her bulged belly and the toddler huddled near her. She could hardly bring herself to eat then…and she had dragged herself to the young woman and handed the bowl to her. She shivered in the fear of what was going to happen to her…to all those around her. She had been clinging on to the roof of her submerged house when help came. It was a relief to let her clinging arms relax from their terrified hold on the beam that once held the slated roof of her ramshackle cottage. Victims of Nature’s fury were plucked off their perches and brought to this leaky school building and dropped in dripping huddles inside. Only, as it continued to rain, they got wet inside as well. Jaanakka left the dry corners for those with small kids and the feverish oldies. She didn’t mind the drops of water that rhythmically dripped on and around her through the cracks in the tiled roof of the classroom. As she looked around, pictures of Gandhi and a few other men and women looked at her, unmoved by the plight of the refugees. News was that her entire village had become submerged in flood waters. Like the two or three neighbouring villages. She wondered where Dodde Gowda was now. Safe and dry in his two floored mansion in the town, she knew for sure. How long was it since they had seen him in their area, she wondered. Probably two years back when he had come seeking their votes. She cursed him now and her son who had forced her to cast her vote in Dodde Gowda’s name. Son! Alarmed by maternal fear for her offspring’s safety, she wondered where he was. “ Devare!” She moaned, “Nan maganannu kaapadappa!”( God…please save my son). What a fate she thought… to be stranded like this, bereft of one’s family. Did they get washed away or have they got rescued? She tried to recall. Then she remembered. Of course, they were all safe. Didn’t they go to the town to watch Annayya’s movie? That evening, seeing the overcast skies, she had refused to accompany them. She had to refuse. At this old age she was not excited at the prospect of traveling 18 kilometers by bus and walking around in the crowded town. Beisdes, she felt that it was inauspicious to cross the angry river. The river goddess was angry, she knew. The way the waters seemed to churn and angrily violate her own banks spelled doom, in her opinion. No wonder. Nobody did the poojas due to the goddess these days. In her youth, she and Chikkayya, her husband used to go to the river banks at the onset of the rainy season to appease the river goddess and seek her patience and blessings on their village. These days, no one believed in such practices! It rained the whole night, winds howling and coconut palms doing a thandava nrutya…The next day, she had come to know that the bridge had collapsed. Within 36 hours, water attacked. It was everywhere…Initially, she had tried to bail out the intruding water with the aluminium vessel, but soon realized it would be more practical to get herself to a safer and drier place. The sight of the river breaching its banks had been terrifying. An instinct for self preservation made her eighty year old bones clamber atop the roof of her house, holding on for dear life, watching the angry waters demolishing her house bit by bit… The drone of a flying machine made her glance up at the rectangular patch of sky beyond the window...and she saw a plane… Not the ones that flew high in the sky above their village sometimes …this was like a huge insect and it made rumbling noise. “That is the Chief Minister visiting the flood-hit areas,” someone in the veranda outside was commenting. Jaanakka could not control the vitriolic words that came to her lips. “Ay Ajji,” someone scolded her, “He has promised to get aid for us from the center… Crores of rupees…” You idiot, said Jaanakka. This is your first flood, no? Do you know how many floods I have seen in my life? How many Chief Ministers have come in these flying iron machines and gone back promising aid? Nothing happens in the end. They’ll drop a few sacks of useless things for us… Many will fall in God forbidden nooks and corners and decay unclaimed… They’ll get their photos in the papers…their coffers will fill… That is that. Ultimately, when the Goddess’ anger appeases, she will appeal to Sun God to show mercy on us and things will get back to normal... “ Hey, you useless son of a so and so,” she said, not mincing words, “Go and see if the that iron bird is dropping its excreta somewhere nearby… We sinners have to survive on that **** now…” Angrily she spat into the corner before tying the wet folds of her sari tightly around her stomach.