I and the Flood! Part: III

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Irtif Lone

Irtif-LoneIndeed, the other name for life is resilience. It is the resilience of a seed that lets it grow into a beautiful flower, even under the mountainous rock whose nature otherwise is to trample growth. And, most of the times resilience is rebellious. When the water in Jhelum turned defiant and breached its own boundaries, the city drowned.  But, it was the resilience of the people in valley that didn’t let the life succumb to the worst of water it has ever seen. Even the most of daunting situation cannot distress you, if you can manage to smile.

Kashmir has always been resilient and courageous and has bore its suffering earnestly. And, so did it this time. When I reached Kashmir, I realised the city had been divided. The part of the city including Sanat Nagar and Rawalpora was doing fine, parts of the Hyderpora road were inundated so was Humhama. Even though the Hyderpora chowk was waterless, while moving towards the Tengpora bridge the water started gaining height. And while the Baghat and Barzulla had started drying out, it was impossible to move beyond Rambagh without a boat.

A day after I reached Srinagar, I left home early morning along with my brother, who had already spent a couple of days rescuing people, to see and analyse the situation around the relief camps. Our First visit was to Sanat Nagar relief camp which had been set up by the locals of the area along with a community Kitchen. The place was aptly chosen by the locals, a marriage Hall named after the poet of east. It had become home to around a thousand people. And there we met other people who were volunteering in this hour of need. A group huddled together with people from different professions; it had doctors, development sector workers, social workers, journalists, lawyers, designers, bankers and students as well. And within a couple of day’s medicine worth lakhs were received including life saving drugs. There is one thing which we realised quite early, with community kitchens set up there would be no dearth of basic food items and it was true, people from other districts which were not affected by the floods were coming with the truckloads of rice and vegetables.

Before I left for Srinagar, I talked to couple of friends in Delhi who were organising and sending relief material to the valley. Once, the phones started working partially in the valley, they put up my phone number in the list of on ground guys. I received hundreds of calls in two days, all of them distress calls from people worried about their families’ in Kashmir. I tried my best to soothe the nerves of those callers, of as many as I could. I could hear the restlessness in their voice and their helplessness of not being able to do anything.

Every flight which was coming to Kashmir carried either the relief material or Kashmiri’s, most of them young and courageous. I met a few of them who came with their personnel rafting boats and straightway started rescuing people.  In Kashmir, creativity was at its best with boats being made from almost everything which could float. As they say, “necessity is the mother of invention”.  On one of the days, I went into the waters myself in a raft and went through the Jawaharnagar, it was totally devastated. I could have never imagined so much of water had I not seen it with my own eyes.

Had it not been for the young and courageous guys who were in Kashmir portraying their creative ability and those who flew with boats to rescue people from all over or the ones who had started collecting and sending relief material from the very first day, the human life loss would have been much higher.

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