Idukki, Indonesia, and the Ongoing Apocalypse

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Idukki, Indonesia, and the Ongoing Apocalypse

Illustration: Akshita Monga/Arré

D

eath is primal, it is pure. It is exact and it is final. It is generally tragic but can at times be vengeful and valedictory. But it is also salacious, almost seductive in the way its arrival can be imagined and improvised. We do it every day: In watching apocalypse movies in the theatre, in dystopian reading of science-fiction, in long discussions over whether the zombies will get to us before the aliens do (the answer is: Only if they can make it in time before we nuke the galaxy.) Or even in the way we discuss the overflowing Idukki reservoir in Kerala, where an overflowing dam has prompted an airport shutdown and cost dozens of lives. Incidents like this, when viewed in isolation, seem almost apocalyptic in their nature, but are forgotten once the urgency of the crisis recedes. 

The overflowing Idukki dam in Kerala, which has caused the deaths of dozens, is but the latest headline that tells us the planet may have crossed its breaking point years ago. Idukki is a symptom of an overwhelming monsoon, but the summer took its toll as well. From wildfires in North America, to a heat wave that swept across Europe and Asia, there’s hardly a week without news of some new environmental doomsday scenario. If it sounds like the end of the world, we lap it all up, only to forget it all once the world keeps turning.

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