In her desolation what she thought of was her city – under water

She couldn’t imagine a three story house in water. A horrible feeling to be trapped in the top floor of your house and seeing your belongings washed away in flood water. 

Gush of water breaking the walls; taking all the belongings; leaving one helpless.  

The shelter called house – where one would always sought safety – was now a threat. It could anytime kill anyone – who puts up in the house. 

Waters rising every moment, devouring and smashing everything that came in its path.

In a room, she could breathe in the dry air, yet felt helpless. She stared at the darkness but was thankful to be safe, yet anxious to think about those people trapped in the top of their houses -- with Jehlum flowing actually beneath them. 

She thought of her city and water was all she could think of.

She had just slipped into the bed and started to look at the candle by her side.

This small candle had been lighting up her room from past two nights. 

The incessant rains followed by floods had grounded people to utter darkness. 

The flame of the candle kept flickering; the melting wax beneath it kept rolling out like tears. She then, with a wave of her hand, put out the flame and what engulfed the room was just darkness. 

She felt nervous and all she could think of what Jane Eyre might have felt in Charllote Bronte’s “Jane Eyre”, where this lady extinguishes the candle and later wishes she had left it burning. 

The darkness did not scare her as in her land they are used to undeclared phases of darkness. Yet the night was haunting, an eerie silence had settled around, the events of that weekend had shaken her and may be all other people living in Kashmir. 

Shock – everybody was in state of and everyone got its share.

The first piece of shocking news came from Anantnag -- her maternal home in South Kashmir.

Flood waters had entered her “matamal” on that Friday and had compelled them to shift to the second storey of their home and then were forced to move to family friend’s house.

In fear her mother would chant it like prayers -- this is no flood but a fury – a fury which has never touched Kashmir ever. 

Rajbagh -- place which was more close to her -- dawned more nervousness upon her. 

For many years she had lived there; first memories of her childhood belong to this place. 

On Saturday night the angry Jehlum and brimming flood channel had torn apart their embankments and had rushed into this posh settlement of the city. 

This was the place where her Mother and father would hold her hand as she would jump over puddles – and now it was overwhelmed by raging waters. 

As these thoughts loomed over her mind she wished the night to pass quickly.

Her phone was stuck at 23:00 hours of the night and hopeless had rendered everything static.

She wanted to know of her friends, relatives and acquaintances – but knew no way to reach out to all.  

Wrath of waters left a lasting impression on everything and blanketed effect on roads, electricity, cellular networks and all. 

Desperate phone calls and messages were blaring out from her radio set.

Radio Kashmir would beam them for the whole day. 

 

(Author is a student of journalism at Govt College of Women)

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