Insha, a class 7th student, recalls how September floods separated her from friends she often longs to see
This is the story of a small girl narrated by the author.
The September floods washed almost everything that people had stocked over the years. It wreaked havoc at a very large scale in Srinagar. Families were rendered homeless. Hue and cry was heard from all sides because the people had not experienced it all before. Those who survived can never forget the trauma and shock they have experienced. Though what is lost is lost yet narrating the traumatic experience to others relieves the pain a bit and one feels as if one’s grief is halved. Today when all of us are to observe the Revival Day to mark the occasion, I am reminded of everything that is too hard for me to let simply go. I miss my friends, teachers and everyone I was associated this way or that in MIG Colony, Bemina. Devastating floods have no doubt caused so much of damage but it has at the same time segregated girls like me who had developed so strong the friendships around their rented accommodations in the city.
Right from my early childhood I was brought up by beloved parents at MIG Colony, Bemina, Srinagar. My father who is in police has given us almost every comfort. From a very small happiness to a big one, he had always kept things ready for us. And all that he would demand us in return was to excel in studies. He had rented us a two room accommodation at MIG Colony, Bemina where with upbringing and schooling, I and my brothers thought as if we were born in the city. But who knew that floods will spoil everything.
I recall, September 5 2014. It was raining heavily in the whole of the valley over the couple of days. I had gone to the market to purchase teachers’ day gift for my tutor Iram Maam who’d teach us in the evening. I still imagine having been to JVC with Mahfooza Aunty, our neighbor, to see water level of the muddy rain water. Having seen the adjoining areas of JVC and Haj House drowning in the muddy rain water we both got frightened and returned instead waiting there anymore. On reaching room I straight left for my tuition classes. But gosh, no body except me, Azmat and Mujeeb Baya had come to the class!
On September 6, we woke up from the sleep in a new world where there was yelling and screaming with terror from all around. We were deeply shocked when we peeped out through the window and saw that the water had entered the Sector No.3. In the absence of my father who was in Jammu that day it seemed that a worst catastrophe has befallen us. We were frightened. Seeing water entering our MIG Colony didn’t make me cry only but made the whole of my colony shout for help. The upsurging water level frightened everyone terribly.
Nevertheless, when we sat for the dinner meals an announcement made by someone from the Masjid encouraged us a bit. It was: Hazrat, tamam lukun che evan guzarish karne ke tume khalen panun saman duymes pores peth keze ki aabech satah che badain hewan (People are requested to shift their belongings to the second storey of their houses because the water level is escalating). No sooner the announcement ended than I and my brothers started shifting the things to the second storey of the house. My brothers helped others too in taking up their belongings upstairs.
All of us stayed awake that night close to our possession. At about 2 O’clock in the night when we peeped out from the second storey to take notice of the present situation. To our shock, instead of receding, the water level had raised by a couple of feet. Now we were completely drowned with no option to run away. I felt the house floating from the second storey and was dumbstruck.
Next day was the ill-fated day of September 7. My mother had kept tea ready for us but who had appetite. In sorrows appetite is lost. With upsurge in the water level also upsurged the hue and cry from all the sides? Friends and relative were continually calling us to vacate the place not knowing that we had completely got trapped. My brothers were busy
right from the morning in taking, hurriedly, the people to the safer locations with their
strength and courage. No doubt, my elder brother’s name didn’t figure in the news like ETV correspondent Rifat Abdullah but he too rescued so many in the colony. Our another elder brother Janbaz had gone missing from the evening of September 6. But then we lately came to know that he had slept in the mosque and was safe.
At about 1 o’clock in the day we reached JVC where so many others were crying for their loved ones. In fact, the scene would become more heart-rending when one would see some mothers pounding chests for the loved ones whom they had not seen from the previous day. Seeing even the vehicles being drifted away by the forceful waters we somehow managed to reach Shaltang wherefrom we came to Uncle’s house at Sopore where we later celebrated our Eid too.
As we celebrate ‘the revival day’ in connection with the devastating September floods, memories of Srinagar revive. All I want to say is that after devastating deluge I visited MIG Colony only twice with my papa. But alas, I couldn’t meet my friends and teachers whom I so often miss! My best friend Mahwish would be finding me here and there in the school; we’re very close but oh the floods didn’t let us remain in each others company for long.
Presently I am at my home in Rafiabad. But not a single day has gone by; post September floods, when I didn’t crave to go back to MIG Colony, Bemina, Srinagar where I did my schooling from Nursery to 6th Standard. I miss all my teachers of Iqra Public School, Bemina especially teacher English Alishah Ma’am whose fluent dashing American accent would simply bewilder me.