OUTLOOK — By Mohammed Al Hadhrami — Two days ago I woke up to the rumbling thunder, lightning was striking fiercely like shooting stars plunging down from heaven. I opened the curtain in my room and saw the lightning glittering continuously. I have never seen anything like that in my entire life. ‘May God have mercy upon us’ I said to myself. I kept watching that awesome scene from my position behind the window pane, gazing fearfully at the sky. I opened the window partially and fixed my gaze on the tumultuous sky. The scene was really scary.
My daughter Maryam stood beside me. “I couldn’t sleep, the lightning is striking over my head” she said. I patted her shoulder trying to ease her fears “this happens not so often, everything will be alright”. I decided to go to the yard to have a better view of the sky. My elder son was opening the front door to get to the street “come back, it is so risky” I shouted at him.
I don’t know why I remembered a movie scene in which a man had survived lightning strikes many times in his life. Every time the lightning strikes and reduces everything to cinders he escapes unscathed, the man lived to be ninety. Many are the incidents in which people have lost their lives to lightning strikes, I thought to myself.
The scene was awesome; the call for dawn prayer had not been held yet for who can brave such an extreme weather and venture out to call for prayer. I turned on my mobile phone and recorded the scene of lightning although my phone was not equipped with a sophisticated camera but it was good enough to shoot the turbulent scene. Every time I stretched my hand out I felt it would by severed by fire.
We stayed in the hall for a while talking at moments and keeping silent, sometimes moving and other times motionless. I told my son Ahmed to make sure that the doors and windows are shut for I feared the books in the selves would get wet.
The next day the sun shone brightly, everything was washed by the rain, water was dripping from the leaves of the trees. The memory of that rainy night would not easily vanish from my mind. I heard the news, the happy and the saddening. Many wadis overflowed heralding lush grass and green trees. The dams were full to the brim with water. The palm trees were vividly green and clean as if on their wedding night. Sadly, the rain was not without its disastrous side, it came as a shock to me to know that many lives were lost. Some of the victims underestimated the might of the water torrent pouring down from mountains and tried to drive their cars through overflowing wadi. Perhaps they did so not knowing that the water is so powerful that it can uproot large trees, wash away entire neighbourhoods and turn over hefty ships.
The following day I was back at my office. I read the rain-related news written by my colleagues in the reporting department. There were numbers of those drowned in wadis and families rescued after they were stranded amid the floods. The death of someone is a grievous loss, no doubt of it as they might have done some good to the nation had they been alive. On my way back home I saw people gathering beside wadis revelling, laughing and taking pictures. Some were wading in shallow waters.
The next day life had already returned to normality. The sky was clear and beautiful as though it was created anew. We opened the windows and enjoyed whiffs of pure and fresh air. Thanks to God who had granted us a couple of days with the warmth of love and rain.