School days, isn’t that a phase we love discussing about. The not so pleasant “wake up.!” screams, having breakfast in those half open eyes and then the show goes on air. Ah. The wonderful school bus fun, boring lectures and most importantly those vibrant Recesses, playing all around. That innocence we had back in those days when problem was just a term used in Mathematics. How is this term’s meaning now changed? The definition goes on increasing as we see the world with a wider lens. Though revisiting childhood is always everyone’s best memory.
“Come on Poorva, wake up.!” She was screaming.
“Umm, 5 minutes.” That was my regular excuse.
“You will be late! Come on get up!” My blankets were gone, and she held my hand.
The regular chaos had started. My half opened eyes and numb mind wasn’t ready for it still. But the idea of meeting my friends after two long days paced up my actions. Soon after we were standing in the old watchman’s cabin near the lake waiting for my mini school bus. I had the priviledge to enter the mini bus like a boss and choose the best possible seat as the driver uncle lived few buildings away from ours. I had my school at 7A.M. and the bus used to come at 6:00 A.M. then after it the regular routine of collecting other students and reaching school used to start. It was a normal start; I didn’t have any idea that this day would change my life, my routine and even my thought process. I didn’t take it as nightmare, it is still a lesson I would never forget.
It was rainy heavily since almost 36 hours. Mom had that big family umbrella, and I was wearing my Minnie Mouse pink raincoat, covering my body till knees and my bag to. I was sitting on the small stool in the cabin. We had locked our gaze on the front road waiting for my mini bus. The white bus having two black huge strips in middle of it. It was cooler than usual as it had been raining so much. There was a pleasant fragrance of soil all around. The fog had made its rule all around. Our society was surrounded by creeks and then highways on three sides and a huge mountain on other side. Due to highway construction, the road level was much higher. If seen from above, our locality was a bowl whose rims were highways and mountains. And then finally after few minutes I saw the bus coming slowly through that fog. Uncle was late that day as the mini bus, which was like thrice of age as me, had some trouble.
After 45 minutes we reached our destination. All the kids were wearing colourful raincoats and the drivers were busy counting the number of kids. The lightning was roaring and it was like the clouds have lost their favourite toys so they are crying bitterly and there is no one to console them. Seeing the atmosphere the authorities had decided that students should be sent back home. We were all giggling and enjoying that today there will be no school! Unaware of further disasters, uncle had done his duty well I had reached home safely. It was 9 almost, as the road was a bit chaotic as they were covered by water. My little brother had gone to his kinder garden school and mom was busy. The house was calm and cold. The music of heavy rain was disturbing though. It had been raining too heavily for the past few hours. Soon it was time at which my brother usually returns.
Mom opened the door and we were waiting for him. The water level on the roads had increased, we had no idea what was about to come, Mom was worried about my little brother.
Soon, we saw a manly figure coming through the fog, it was his rikshaw wala uncle, our neighbour’s daughter was sitting on his shoulders and Hri was walking along holding his hand, all wet and scared. The Uncle told my mom that knee length water was all around the area and it was impossible to bring rikshaw till here. He had brought Hri walking from no idea how far. His knee length water meant Hri’s chest length water. There he was all shivering and scared.
Mom didn’t say a word and we went home. Hri had fever that night. Mom was awake when I was dizzy; she sat near us watching us sleep. The electricity had been cut off in the afternoon. I was deep asleep.
“Pooru, get up, pooru...”I heard her soft voice. My semi- open eyes couldn’t see much. There was a candle lit in our bedroom near the big clock which showed about 4:30. I was worried Dad wasn’t home still, Hri had a fever and was lying beside me and mom seemed a bit tensed.”Pooru, get up. The water is entering our house through the washroom’s hole, Pooru...” She murmured. My eyes were about to fall down. My sleep was theft by these words...water...entering...house? I mean shit! “Pooru we have to move our things, don’t panic, get up and help me”she said, worried but loving as ever. We were then moving our things. Each thing was kept on a high place. I had no idea, what was going and worse was what was about to happen. But maybe she knew it all. I was just in 2nd standard to guess things and panic. But my inner instinct said it must be something bad.
After an hour or two, mom had opened the door to check where and at what level the water is. First two steps were covered by flood water. Mom went running upstairs and asked them if we could move things upstairs to their house. And then the actually thing started, moving things upstairs. Fortunately, one of the guys showed the courtesy to help us. First we moved Hri upstairs as he still had fever. 101 the thermameter screamed. One by one we three were moving stuff upstairs.
Being a hardcore artist the prior thing in her list was to save our books, our references which were like the only blessing god had gifted us. I was too tiny to make any decisions, all I could do was to co-operate with mom and follow her orders. Heavy books! Dozens of books! We had just completed moving the books when water level had risen suddenly. It was still raining outside. Our house floor was wet and covered with 1 mm of water. Slowly we had moved many things from the hallway and the kitchen. People asked if they could help us and started moving the sofas upstairs.
It was dark then, all dark, terrifying dark. The silence roared at its higest peak. Hri’s fever had decreased a bit, still he was low and I think horrified too. Our building was on a corner of the society and besides the walls surrounding our building was surrounded by creeks. The water was brown and dirty. I could see mom stressed but still she had the will. She boosted us, she made us strong saying”EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT! WE HAVE TO DO THIS.” these words still motivate me. Then suddenly mom stood up, she was deep thinking something. “Oh, the papers.!”she said, her hand on her waist and other on the head. She was moving from here and there. Then she gave our house’s key to one of the building members and then a few of them started discussing things. We brought batteries and candles. We were in the passage way stairs connecting the ground floor and the first floor. It was all dark underneath; the water had covered half of the ground floor. It was stinking. Uncles told me to stand on a side and they entered the water. Then they opened the house and went inside. The water oozed inside the house. After few minutes they were back, few papers in their hands. Mom was happy to see those papers. The night passed all dark, scared and haunting. No electricity, candles which were about to end.
Another day was here and there was no clue of rescue, batteries of cells were dead long along. Water had covered the whole ground floor and half of the steps which connected first floor. We were tensed that it will cover the first floor too. It was still raining but much more mild than the days before as the cloud‘s mom is trying to calm them down. But I wish it stops soon. We were standing near the first floor’s window when someone screamed “Look snakes”. Black serpants were roaming in the water. After sometime they had disappeared. As the day passed the water level was lowering. It was the evening time when we saw few boats coming towards the nearby building. And they waved towards us. We were happy to see humans as for the past two days, all we could see in that water was snakes and car roofs, floating bottles and floating garbage. One by one the boats were increasing, people were being rescued. And now even we were about to be rescused. Then a boat came towards our building finally and to our surprise Dad was there in that boat. It was like seeing him after several years. We went down; still the ground floor was semi- covered by the flood water. The other half was covered by mud and was stinking. The flood water had left its signs everywhere, every place and more than that in every heart. Those days we had not only lost many things in that water but also all the memories of that place or maybe the innocence of every child living there. It was like we were mature than before, we had grown up. We weren’t discussing about the hide and seek anymore. It was about what we have lost, it was about thank god someone came to rescue us.
Dad hugged us tightly. Mom took the papers and some important things with us. We climbed in the boat. The boat began, leaving all the memories, leaving all the crap, leaving all the innocence behind. The playground, parking lots where we used to play various games, were we had spend times were all dead. Murmured by the flood water and covered by its ill memory and dirty soil.
We being alive was an achievement but then we had lost. Lost everything, lost every penny, lost ....in the flood water. Still there were these two people, my mom and dad happy that their children are safe and sound. A new journey began. Journey to make everyone stand up again. They never took us back to that place, me and Hri haven’t seen that place till now. Mom and dad did it all, cleaned it, brought my painting and books which were saved as they were on the highest racks in the house.
They didn’t give up. They fought back for our better future. There was absolutely nothing in our hands when we had left the house. Mom had just our birth certificates, their passing certificates. Only the paper things of our existence. People had helped us at the start but then things went more difficult as they took us for granted. My school was all greedy about their fees. The daily life was miserable, still mom and dad faced it all. Years have passed by by mom and dad’s hardwork and support we are now stable.
When I look back, a little girl in me is still afraid of that dark, of that water. But somehow those words play in my mind...”EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT.! WE HAVE TO DO THIS.”....
Tears roll down, lips do shiver.
Feeling like drown in a river.
Darkness haunts, stinks remind.
Still the life doesn’t wind.
Be brave, look high, do it.
Because mom says “we are fit,
The magic will guide.
The magic will calm.
Just believe the theme
And catch magic’s arm.
Listen to the heart.
We have made new start.
We all gonna do it fine.
As these are hopes of mine.”
Sun the brightest and huge star, which is the support system for all of us, which brings light in our life. I am lucky, I have two -my mom and dad. ANJALI BHOSALE AND SHRIPAD BHOSALE.