A STRANGE FEELING overtook Muthulakshmi Bhaskar around noon. “I suddenly felt unwell,” she told me. “I couldn’t move, couldn’t breathe properly.” She ignored it and continued with her household chores. In an hour, she had severe leg pain. She decided to call her 22-year-old son, B Ranjith Kumar, who usually ferried her to hospital when she needed care. Someone else picked up the phone. The voice at the other end said that Ranjith had had a head injury and was being taken to the Thoothukudi general hospital. “I started screaming,” she told me. “My head was spinning.” She tried hailing an auto but each driver refused saying there was a riot in town. With the help of a neighbour, she reached the hospital a half hour later. It was a scene of chaos.