“Again torrents? O, God!” words surged out of Vishnu’s lingual part, “suffered a lot last year and again suffering, again flood?”
Last summer was very extensive, as the sun articulated his fury by sipping all the water from all the wetlands. The terrain was totally dehydrated. So people longed for rain, and they put forth their demand in front of the Almighty. Yes, they were heard and God made arrangements for sending rains to earth, going himself in hiding. There started unrelenting rains and stayed tirelessly for about a week. The level of water in various basins was augmenting but hadn’t transformed into an inundation. The days wore a dark garb and the surroundings damp, having a bath in the rain. People all remained home, cursing the aestivation of the great Sun. People found it arduous to move out due to dunked environment.
Just a year before, unbroken torrential rains claimed lives and livings of people in umpteen numbers from the countryside. The flood put on display her vitriol, engulfing the tenants of that locale-both animate and inanimate. She never showed any hesitation or expressed any consideration to spare places of worship-temples, churches or mosques. Trees of titanic stature and plants of tiny size escaped seldom. Rivers, leaving the usual course of flow, discovered newer and newer tracks of locomotion to fall in the ocean’s lap. All these happened only a year ago. Lives and means of living were carted off by the cruel current of water. Since Vishnu’s domicile was on the slope of a hill, water couldn’t select a stay there. Hence the landlords, possessing wide and petite areas of land of that locale were safe.
And now giving no warning, the rain attained its rage and started pouring heavily, signelling the formation of inundation in planes. Men from far and near and various forces like fire, Naval and Police presented themselves in the site and rendered services with utmost care and concern. Vishnu spending no time in inaction surrendered his body and mind at the fullest in the salvage team, which spent day and night to serve the flood victims. Solace for the sufferers was his watchword always. Despite his circumstances of being an underprivileged boy, his young age onwards, he exhibited an extraordinary interest in social service in his neighbourhood and so does he now also. Though in the early twenties, he used to buy groceries for old people, helped people settle their in-house strife, develop a healthy relationship and so on and so on.
The team members in groups of four-five scattered here and there to bind the tattered lives wherever doable. Vishnu reached an area where people were fleeing to occupy harmlessly havens, carrying their goods, whatever possible in their hands. Vishnu and his pals were about three kilometres away from their dwelling, helping old couples, mothers with kids, ailing men and women migrate to one of the refugees’ camps.
He along with his team literally carried little children, physically handicapped ones and visually impaired humans, so that they all could fly away from the gushing deluge. Vishnu and the companions tirelessly entered themselves in the benevolent mode. Domestic as well as pet-animals were also not to let escape but were unkindly lashed by the furious water. The surroundings were loaded with yells, bellows, barks, mews and all sorts of cries of humans and animals. The eviction and evacuation job was at the summit though; some lives didn’t wait for any shelter but ruthlessly drowned their bodies in the torrents. Vishnu and his friends somewhat succeeded in taking the beings of that vicinity to refugees’ camps.
Vishnu belonged to a family of six members-his father, mother, sister and paternal grandparents. All but his sister were labourers working elsewhere for their livelihood. Still, they were able to build a small house where the members satiated their needs. Vishnu couldn’t continue his studies after the 7th grade, as there was no secondary school in their environs of the hilly area. And therefore, he was very particular to see his sister, Nisha continue her studies. Luckily by the time, she was to get into the 8th grade, their primary school attained maturity to a secondary school.
Her toddling days onwards, she showed the signs of innate music talent giving a tune to any words that came to her mouth. As she grew up to the primary school level, she longed much for learning music, which according to their pecuniary position, was unaffordable.
Understanding her talent in music, her school’s music teacher commenced special coaching in music for her.. Vishnu fell into a world of ecstasy, whenever his dear darling sibling practised music home in a melodious sweet voice. She considered her music book to be the most precious thing for her. If someone asked what she liked the most, she definitely said, “My music lessons.”Her brother was in cloud nine, whenever she sang on occasions of local festivals and temple fairs in the neighbourhood. Proudly he introduced his sister to his friends.
While Vishnu went out to save the flood victims, the houses around his own haven were safe, since their locality stood on a high altitude. Chances were less for the heightening of water level there. When his team concluded the work, they all began to recede to their shelters. At a distance, a big bang pierced their ears followed by a clamour disturbing the calm of the situation. People from elsewhere rushed and ran off to the hill, where Vishnu and his family stayed. His team dashed to the site, where they could stand a little far only. The hill that housed their havens slid and collapsed swallowing all that stood at the slant and in the valley. A sudden harsh rain hit the ground, blowing the hill to one side. Nature turned a butcher and slaughtered the habitat and the inhabitants by burying them in the soil. There was no loophole of escape for anybody. Rescuing was a herculean task for the rescuers. The team members including Vishnu turned numb, as they had lost everything they had and everyone they were related to. The grief was unfathomable and with no tears, no sense and no motion they formed rocks there.
To a nearby refugees’ camp, the saviors escorted the team members, who were escorting the victims to camps, a little while ago. Impishness of nature is unpredictable and without seeing this man’s impertinence amplifies and as its upshot, he himself falls prey to Nature’s loutish games.
The rescuing forces swiftly arrived at the spot and after a hard labour of unearthing the deceased; they were able to bring out only a few bodies, partially or fully. The soil pitilessly swallowed a whole lot of lives and articles. Houses were completely crushed and ruined. Nobody knew anything about the statistics of residences or demography of residents. Pathetic was the picture-some died, some partially died, and some buried under the soil; some screaming with pain and some screeching for help. Even a lactating mother feeding her infant was also found under the soil.
Among the carcasses lay the corpse of a thirteen-year-old girl holding tightly abreast a sodden book. Vishnu at once fell on the body and took the book in hand making it further soggy with his tears and lamented the slaughter incoherently. The authorities couldn’t part him from his most loving sister. On scrutiny, it was found that the notebook that she held dearly was her most favourite music book.