We seem to have turned like amphibians breathing with gills when in water, with lungs when on the ground.
As rain gods show no signs of relenting and don't let us enjoy a dry spell for too long, our survival is under threat.
`What shall we do'? Everyone asks everyone else. Does our safety only lie in running away to the safer spots? Is it all about issuing warnings and advisories? Are we in the lap of God who (feeling burdened with a sinister load we carry) will one day throw us irretrievably into the surging waters?
Unless a miracle happens and we are saved, another disaster is awaiting us. Since last September nothing has changed. Infact everything has changed for worse. Our rivers, streams, flood channels and all other water bodies are like brimming cups and anything more than a drop makes them overflow. Our roads, lanes, drains, streets, manholes, pipes – everything is leaking and now we are the denizens of a leaking nation. (Don't sneeze, lest you be flooded in your own water).
Despite some genuine efforts to rebuild roads and bridges taken up during the last few months, the challenge is too huge to meet. All political or ideological compromises notwithstanding, Kashmiris would have – temporarily though – reconciled with any possible alliance, that offers them a shot of life. If the north pole meets the south pole to save a drowning lot of people, the deal would still do. But the way things are shaping makes the bargain unilaterally adverse. New Delhi's promise to rebuild a flood-ravaged Kashmir fell apart soon after the ruling party at the Centre got a gate pass to Kashmir. Add to it the state's empty coffers. Nothing seems to be going our way.
The flood we had last year was sudden and stormy which gave us no time to think. Whether the then government was responsible or not for – what many call – inviting the disaster – is debatable. But the flood that is feared this year will unarguably be an invited disaster. Like Nero, they lost all these months in fiddling while Rome was burning. The only difference between Romans and Kashmiris lies in the nature of the calamity. Rome was burning, but Kashmir is drowning.
Still is the time to dredge and deepen the water bodies. Before all is lost, the rulers of the land may suspend all – otherwise important – activities and devote everything they have on rescuing people. Even rehabilitation of the old victims can wait before we make new victims join the queue. Kashmir is suffering a massive haemorrhage, the solution does not lie in a prolonged medication. Only an instant surgical intervention may save us – if it will.