By Mariya Hussain
I had just finished my mid-term examination on September 2, 2014, when it started raining. All the students of my college decided to take a weeklong rest. But what happened in the intervening days was quite unexpected.
Rainfall continued with increased intensity for days together. One day I saw my mother looking anxious. I asked her what the matter was; and she replied: “Perhaps we may have to face a flood this year.” I had no idea what a flood looked like. However, the next day I had a glimpse when my native place, Natipora, and its adjoining neighbourhoods were flooded with muddy waters that had overflown the banks of the Doodhganga steam. I saw people wading through water. It was reported that the water had even entered some houses. But, overall, the situation was far from being dangerous.
Meanwhile reports came in that the level of water in the Jhelum was rising. My mother told me that a flood was imminent and it would be a disaster. She advised me to go to my aunt’s house at Barzalla. So I went there. I spent two days at Barzalla. Then my aunt’s family shifted from there to Rawalpora because Barzalla itself was threatened by the Doodhganga. So I too went with them. Meanwhile, a rumour spread that the Jhelum had developed a breach on its left bank at a place called Kandizal. Within a couple of days miles and miles of countryside on the left side of Jhelum, from Kandizal down to Padshahibagh, were submerged. Then reports came in that floodwater had overflown the Padshahibagh embankment. This meant that all the neighbourhoods around Natipora would be flooded. In one second week of September, when I should have been in college attending classes, I was at Nowgam bypass with my cousins to see what a flood looked like. I was terrified everywhere One could see only water. I was very concerned about our house.
Then, after some days I went to Budshahnagar to see our flood-hit house. It was covered by layers of mud, duckweed, and insects. The condition inside the house was even worse. Our home seemed to be an alien place. All my books were damp and swollen. Curtains were drenched with mud. Everything seemed like a bad story. Our home was severely damaged. I left with a heavy heart and eyes full of tears. The image of our house kept haunting me for several days. Finally after more than 20 days we went back to our house. My parents became my courage and we together made that desolate place a happy home again.
It has been a year since that disaster befell us but the memories are still fresh in our minds. May Almighty Allah save us and our future generations from such a catastrophe. Ameen.
—The author is a student of BA final year of Functional English at Government College for Women, Srinagar.