“A river in flood was Nature’s uncontrollable anger, but now controllable through science and technology.”
It was a few years ago that the Ravi was in high flood. The Ravi had overflowed its banks and the floodwater had entered the surrounding villages and towns. A break (opening) in the dam across the river had caused the flood.
The people living close to the river were sleeping comfortably in their homes that they suddenly heard the sound of the rushing water. Just in a minute or two, the water reached them. Some men and women jumped off their beds to find themselves in the water. Children started crying loudly to find everyone trying to rush out of the houses. When the lights were turned on, the whole situation became clear-the floodwater was on all sides. And, very soon there was no electricity as the rising and running water had entered the power stations.
At daybreak, one could see water in all directions to a distance of many miles. Hundreds of people, men, women, and children, had taken refuge high on tree branches. Many were sitting on floating logs of wood and beds. There were small riverboats here and there taking people to nearby villages, which were higher than the water level. Very many articles of furniture and beds could be seen floating like yellow tree leaves.
It so happened that I was with some people in the “Baradari” in the Ravi a day earlier, and now we were staying in tents for an overnight stay. We had come from Shahdara, which was now mostly inundated (covered with floodwater). Some army boats with brave soldiers reached us and offered to take us to our homes. We at once got on the boats and started for our homes through some narrow streets of the Shahdara Town.
When I reached my own house in the street, I did not find my parents and brothers and sisters or anyone else anywhere around. I was shocked and wanted to learn about them. I asked the soldiers to go to the nearby Government College. On reaching there, we saw hundreds of people in the building. A loudspeaker was announcing the names of the relations and friends of the people present there. Soon my name was announced, and I rushed to the announcer. He told me that all my family was waiting for me upstairs in the college building. I thanked the soldiers heartily and joined my family in a classroom.
The floodwaters started receding (going back) into the river in two days. When we returned to our house, it was all full of mud and dirt. Some walls had cracked, but fortunately (by good luck) the roofs were in good shape. We thanked God that we all were safe and ready to start the struggle for a better life once again.