Srinagar, Oct 9: A year after the killer quake ravaged Uri and Kupwara in north Kashmir, the memories of the fateful day are still fresh in the minds of the schoolchildren who survived it. They however want to use the bitter memories as an inspiration to become doctors, engineers and teachers and work for development of their respective villages.
"My younger sister Uzma Hamid was injured when our house collapsed due to the tremors. Had there been a doctor around she would have survived," rued Majid Hamid, a student from Tangdhar. "Now, I am concentrating on my studies to become a doctor. I want to serve people of my villages."
Hamid was among a group of over 100 students from Uri and Tangdhar who presented a drama and were felicitated in an official function here on Sunday on the first anniversary of the earthquake.
Looking at the houseboats and shikaras on the banks of Dal lake, another student Zaid Ahmad of Parnipalla Uri said he lost his uncle Bashir Dada and cousin Yasir Irfan in the quake.
"In the drama I tried to show how we survived the quake. We can never forget the day when people cried for help, our houses felled like a pack of cards and mountains clashed," he said.
"People in our village have to tread a long distance for medicare facilities. I want to become a doctor and open a dispensary there. At least some problems of our village will get mitigated," he said.
Among the group of students, Masarat of Sultan Deki Uri looked pensive and lost in thoughts. Besides earthquake, she said, it was the imbroglio between India and Pakistan that shattered "my home and family."
She was in school when the quake jolted Uri. "When I rushed home I couldn't locate it as there was rubble all around. Finally, I spotted the body of my grandmother nearby," she recounted.
"I can understand it was a natural disaster. But what pains me is the death of my two brothers Azhar and Masoom in cross-LoC shelling between India and Pakistan in 2000," she lamented.
"Now, I know dead cannot return. I have to study hard to become a doctor to save people," she said with confidence.
However, Anjum of Parnipalla Uri who lost some family members in the quake, wants to become an engineer. "After engineering I want to specialize in construction in quake-prone areas. Quake can struck anytime so we have to be ready to learn to live with it," he said.
Dilshada of Dachi Uri said she would prefer to become a teacher. " Without teacher nobody can become a doctor or engineer," she argued like a teacher.
While some students said the fear still haunts them, their teachers are hopeful that they can make them come out of the trauma.
"Few weeks after the quake, we engaged the students in studies in fields and many of them have come out of the shock. With the passage of time we hope others will also recover," said Qazi Afzal Hamid, headmaster of Government High School Kandi, Karnah.
In the afternoon, the students had a chance to visit Mughal Gardens of Srinagar. "The gardens are beautiful. We feel relaxed," they said.