It was that fateful day in September 2014. It was raining cats and dogs in Vadodara, India. It rained non-stop for two days. The news channels were running alerts of a flood like situation risen. Roads were flowing like rivers and it was difficult to judge the difference between roads and pot holes. I was at home with my then four month old daughter Mehr and it was a regular day for us.
As the evening set in, the state government declared that the closest dam to the city of Vadodara,Ajwa dam had breached the danger level. Thus it was decided to open up the gates of the dam to release water, which could flood the city, but the time was not decided.
My husband Raghav was at our store. He made sure he bought all the missing vegetables, groceries and milk for the house. The flooding was so much that he was unable to reach home. The rain did not stop for even a second and I was alone at home with a four month old baby. It was a nightmare. Every minute passed like a year, waiting for him and his well-being. After an hour of waiting he reached home almost swimming and completely drenched. It was a moment of big relief. He is the wall of the family, just at his sight I felt stronger.
We then slept as usual, at the around 4:00 am I got up because “Mehr” was hungry and I was breastfeeding her. I thought of looking outside, as I stood at the balcony I saw water slowly coming into the lane of our bungalow. I alerted Raghav that the water had already been released and it was a matter of few hours before we were out of electricity. No electricity meant no water. So we rushed to conserve and fill up water as much as we could.
As the morning approached, the water had already entered our compound. I knew the situation was going to get worse. I cooked as much I could. Breakfast, lunch and dinner all at the same time. So that I didn’t had to worry about meals, atleast. When my daughter got up from her sleep because of no electricity, she was much cranky.
By the noon, the water level had increased and it touch the first step of the entrance of our home. Raghav and I were scared. We tried and managed to put Mehr to sleep as she had played a lot with us (because we both had nothing better to do). We decided that we will had to shift the most essential things to the first floor because the water could anytime enter our house. With a 4month old baby it was risky to stay at the same floor which was flooded with dirty and filthy water.
We shifted all the kitchen necessities like chips, biscuits, the food I had cooked, all the drinking water reserves, Mehr’s toys, and many more things. It was 6:00pm by the time we finished our shifting. Now the night was approaching.
We thought to huddle up in a single room so we placed all the candles and necessities in that room itself. The room had to be lit very nicely so that Mehr wasn’t scared and we could see if any unwanted being entered a house. There were lot of mosquitoes around so we had to use a mosquito repellent coil and close the windows. The fragrance of the coil was irritating Mehr. So we lit it for few minutes and then dosed it off and continuously winded Mehr with a newspaper, so that the mosquitoes don’t bite her.
Mehr was very scared, she cried a lot. It was a horrible situation to be in. After a lot of struggle we managed to make her sleep in her carry cot and rocked it continuously. As she slept we had our dinner and were very tired to stay awake further. We slept praying to god almighty to give us a sunny day tomorrow. We were extremely scared because the water was standing just at the entrance door, waiting to enter our home.
The next day broke with happiness as I got up at 4:00am for feeding, I went to the balcony to see that the water was receding. It had already left our house. I started jumping with joy only to be hit with reality. The water was leaving a very filthy, smelly and muddy trail behind.
As the water receded slowly, the environment outside the house was getting dirtier. Water had left our house but was still in our lane so we couldn’t go out. We were not taking Mehr to the balcony also because it was very smelly outside. We had dried up all our water reserves and were extremely worried about future.
By god’s grace, a team of people from a local NGO came in our society in a truck, to provide help to the flood victims. We got hold of some food and water pouches from them. By the day end the water had receded completely and electricity too had come.
No matter how much money we earn, but the wrath of nature can turn each one of us into a pauper/beggar in a few seconds.
When our water reserves were finished we felt like paupers. At that time we were helped by complete strangers who were god sent to us, expecting nothing in return, and treating each one of us as equal.
Humanity is the greatest virtue and it is the only string which binds us all together.