Day 1.5 of heavy rains and me and Adnan decide to just get some pakoras sorted and a cup of tea and just sit near the French window in the lobby. Which we did. And I won’t lie, it was great. We don’t normally get the time to talk like this. We also spoke about my mums bestfriend, who initially moved to the their neighbours because the the ground floor in their house was flooded - we didn’t pay too much attention to this because they live in a flood prone area and their house is usually the frat casualty.
Fast forward to 9pm, my uncle who’s an engineer is called to the city control room for night duty. This is not normal. Engineers and night duty? Unheard of really! September is not the rainy/monsoon month. It’s the calm brother of October before the harsh November, December and January engulf the city into their crazy winterland. When my uncle came back in the morning, he said Talked about some of the areas in the city that were flooded overnight. Bone and Joint hospital, mums best friends house (entirely) and those neighbouring areas.
Day 3 and it’s still raining continuously and he’s back on night duty. That afternoon, we had braved to go to the side of the city that had flooded. Water had made itself level to the footpath, which was barely visible. While at Nishat khala’s, they received a red alert for their colony - right next to the flood channel. They started moving their things to the first floor and we left trying to find a safe route home.
Day 4 and it’s still raining. Heavily. We brave our way to Lal Chowk to try and get some work sorted before we leave. We go and visit Roohi Masi who lives next to Lidar. Lidar is a distributory joining River Jhelum and she lives almost close to it. We went to make sure they were ok because the water had made it’s way to their garden the day before. They were fine but but there was a hoard of people watching the river flow - the broken foot bridge and wondering what fate it would bring. We left but by the time we got home, Nishat khala called and said the water level had risen and they were having a difficult time getting home. They did eventually reach safely.
Day 5 and the rain has stopped but in the early morning the phone networks are starting to give up. Airtel isn’t working - BSNL has a little bit of life in it. Called out to relatives who’d had the flood water visit them the previous days and that was the end of it all. Everyone and everything seemed to have gone wrong during the night. Water levels had risen by 5ft in 30 minutes at a relatives house. Rajbagh, Jawahar Nagar, Barzulla, Hyderpora, Gogji bagh, Indra Nagar, Peerbagh, Karan Nagar, Khanyaar everything was under water. And in Kashir, everyone is related to everyone else - more than 3/4 of my extended family is currently effected by the floods - they either live there or have evacuated. So many of them were stuck on the third floor of their house or on the roofs waiting for help. The feeling of helplessness when you call someone and they’re crying is something you should never have to go through.
Day 5.5 and the rain has stopped, the sun is out on the Dal Lake but all phone networks have given up. No one is traceable. We’ve no idea what’s happening. Fast forward to the evening and I’ve managed to find some Internet off the Aircel network that seems to still be working a little. I connect to some who’ve messaged, call some on their landline and see how everyone is doing - which was not good. We solemnly go home, try to eat some food and go to bed but it’s not easy to sleep - so many displaced relatives stuck in the middle of nowhere.
Day 6 and I have barely got any sleep and the sleep I got was filled with nightmares of flooding. I also managed to look for someone in my sleep who I couldn’t find. It was a horrible night and it’s been a depressing day so far. I can’t stop thinking about how everything is on the other side.
It’s a horrible state of affairs in the valley just now. The little news I watched on TV before that went off showed an aerial view of the city and everything is submerged under water. The only thing you can see is rooftops, rooftops and more rooftops! There doesn’t seem to be much help going around - rescue teams could have been sent on Day 2 but nothing was done till Day 5 - there is barely any news coverage on the valley. One of my friends asked me if the rain was over but no one knew that there was devastation all around!