Far away from flooded home : Kashmiri girl talks about the trauma faced and how she helped people back home

That day I finished the final lecture at college and went to hostel with my friends completely unaware of the inevitable. I didn’t realise something back home was going to be very terrifying. The same night, I called my parents but there was no response. I repeatedly dialed their numbers but of no use. I got worried, then I thought of reaching them by landline. With each ringing bell my heart sank. Palak, my sister picked up the call and informed me about their welfare. I hung up. Who knew what they were hiding at that point of time. It’s the thing with long distance relationships. You can’t tell them what’s going on. That was my last conversation with my parents that week.

Next day was a dinner party, All my friends were getting ready for the party while I was waiting for my parent’s call as usual. When they didn’t call I thought they must be busy. At her flat as everyone was enjoying, in one corner, I was anxiously waiting for information about my family, relatives, friends. Ifreen, my friend who is also from Kashmir told me that floods don’t affect Kashmir usually and there was nothing to be worried about. My eyes were stuck at the phone. My world comes crashing down as I am unable to connect to my family.

PC : NDTV

I logged on to my Facebook account, I witnessed a number of photos wherein one centre view of dimension was of the havoc created by the flood waters. One of the photo was tagged as, “Is this Jawahar Nagar?”. I was stunned to see my locality in such a shape. The whole area was submerged under flood waters and that only a few roofs of some houses were visible. This added to my agony. I had never used Facebook this much. I refreshed the page after every single second to check updates and so that I could connect with someone there.

The fact that I couldn’t reach my parents made my fear worse. I saw it all in the news. These media people have a bad habit of exaggerating things that it really frightens you. I hurried a few calls to my home. There was no response. I tried to ring up my friends, relatives but all in vain. I presumed something worst had taken place with them.

Soon the girls from the nearby rooms also came in to help. They comforted me while I was crying. Suddenly I got a call from an unknown number and it was my maternal uncle calling via satellite radio phone. They informed me all was well there and there was no cause of worry. By this message I got some consolation but my mind was heavy waiting for a call from my parents. I knew this information was incorrect. They wanted me to be happy and undisturbed. No doubt such tricks help in maintain one’s spirit and morale.

The next day in college, I came to know about the various Kashmiri people from Pune meeting at a common place. So, me and Ifreen hopped on to the next bus with Kalpana di and Akshay bhaiya (seniors also from Kashmir) and went to see what’s that. I must tell you, as much as I was depressed at that point, something made me proud of humanity, about the fact that people came to help each other, irrespective of religion or color. There, I saw students from various colleges, Kashmiris and Non-Kashmiris, coming together for help. We decided to collect money as soon as possible from our respective colleges so as to purchase food and medicine to be sent to flood affected areas. We didn’t know if it’ll reach our families but we still wanted to serve our motherland.

pc : usatoday
pc : usatoday

The next day all of us were collecting money. It is worth mentioning how people came forward in times of need. In one day, we collected 48,500 from our college and both hostels. Then we purchased medicines to be sent to Kashmir. The Indian Airforce & Army were very supportive in dispatching our help to proper places.

After the situation in Srinagar eased, my mother rang me up on September 10, 2014. When I heard her voice my joy knew no bounds. Hearing my mom’s voice after 6 days brought tears to my eyes. Both of us were crying, I on one end of the call and she on the other. She consoled me and assured me that all was well with them and that everyone was fine. After sometime, Ifreen was also able to talk to her family. The relief I felt still reminds me of the fact how important some things are in your life and it’s difficult to replace them. Next time my mother gave me quite the sequence of the events that led to such a catastrophe. After I insisted her she gave me the details of the incident. She told me that they managed to save their lives by escaping through the roof top with the help of local youths and took shelter in house close to us. They remained there for a couple of days almost hungry and spent a couple of sleepless nights. The city was hit hard and such a holocaust was neither imagined nor witnessed so far. The water level rose to 15 to 18 feet leading to closure of almost exit points. All type of communication failed to function there as a result of which it created an awful vacuum. Many houses collapsed and many were damaged.

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On Sep 10, they left in army boat to the Govt. accommodation. All that we did, no matter where it reached, I am proud that I was able to help somebody. After all, a human can only understand another human. I understand that there must have been hell in Kashmir, but we were in hell too. Being thousands of miles away from home, while your parents are at the doorsteps of danger & destruction, it raises a thousand negative thoughts in your brain. And the same is true on the other side, where our parents worry about us everyday. In the end I just want to say that we only have each other, we all can come together to face it. Happiness when shared becomes three-fold and sorrows when shared become halved. Let’s all come together, to help each other to be united.

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