Story Contest 2019 #2 - Highly Commended Stories »

Highly Commended Story - Victim of Guwahati (Assam) Flood

“Victim of Guwahati (Assam) Flood” by Pratha Jain, Rustomjee Cambridge International School, India, is the Highly Commended story in the junior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2019.

Pratha Jain, is a Grade 5 student, studying in Rustomjee Cambridge International school, Mumbai. She is a Child Artist and has worked in T.V. serials and Advertisements. In addition to acting, she is a dedicated student by day and an avid reader at night. Her favourite author is Enid Blyton and J.K. Rowling, and her favourite books are The Faraway Tree and Harry Potter series. Her hobbies are dancing, listening to music, watching creative videos related to art and craft and playing guitar and table tennis. She is passionate in robotics. Pratha aspires to be a Space Scientist.

Victim of Guwahati (Assam) Flood

As my holidays were at an end, I wanted to enjoy them by visiting my grandma’s house at Guwahati, the city beside the Brahmaputra River in the northeast Indian state of Assam. I requested my dad to take me to grandma’s house and he agreed for a short visit for a week. That was a cool thing because I love being with my grandparents and cousins. For them it was a surprise visit. I was just as happy as a lark and was waiting eagerly to fly. I packed my suitcase as quick as lightning. The very next day we left from Mumbai by flight and reached grandpa’s house by the afternoon. All of them were surprised to see us. My cousins had thought that they were dreaming but when one of my cousins touched me and he realized that he wasn’t. The first three days I had played a lot of outdoor games in an open area near the house. Days passed very soon, and I had only three days more to stay there, I wanted to enjoy the remaining days of vacation with sweet memories.

On the morning of the 5th day, suddenly rain poured, that moment I got upset because I couldn’t play outdoor games with my cousins. We decided to get wet in the rain, we were also planning to launch our tiny craft boats and race between our boats. But when I went to take permission, from my mother she refused by citing that it’s raining cats and dogs, so stay at home. But I didn’t agree with her and took my cousins out of the house for getting wet. In the afternoon it seemed like the heavy downpour could cause floods.

We all were watching the news and there was high alert release by the government authority for heavy rainfall. We all were on the ground floor and having our lunch, around 2.00 PM and we heard the water falling outside the stair’s which were connected to the terrace. As my father opened the door, I saw there was a virtual waterfall. The water was flowing down through the terrace door. My father looked outside street about the situation, and he told us that the water level on the street had risen to the ankle level.

By 5:30 pm, it was so dark that it was impossible to see anything outside of the house. So, my parents and grandparents had understood the situation will worsened if the rain didn’t stop, so they told us (all kids) to go up on the second floor of the house and they are starting to shift the essential food, drinking water bottles, medicine, blankets, clothes, torch, and candle etc. Within a matter of 1 hour the water level rose up to approximately 5.5-6 feet on the street and around 11.00 PM suddenly we saw lightning flashed and thunder danced across the sky, immediately the power cut off, now no TV, no internet, and the mobile networks weren't working either. I remember that night I could not sleep well because everyone were scared about the situation. Everyone were praying for the safety of the family members and friends.

The very next morning when I got up and looked out of the window, I could not see land anywhere. It was as if my grandma’s bungalow was in the middle of the sea. Few cars and other objects were floating in the streets and that time the water level was around 10-11 feet. The flowing water sounded like we were standing next to a river with a waterfall.

We were being very careful with our food and water usages. Army rescue boats and rafts were helping old people and children get to the relief camps. Helicopters were flying constantly monitoring the situation and there were supplying food packs. There was a weather forecast for more rain for the next three days and we heard that water levels might rise again as they were redirecting river water flow.

The second morning the flood continued but the water level receded to one or two feet and the elders of our family went down to the ground floor to see the condition of the house. They went to another street by holding their hand to buy emergency medicine for my grandparents and some foodstuffs.

Finally, on 8th day, the water level went down at 1-2 feet and now we were able to see the damaged roads, small houses vanished in water, and dead animals like dog, cat, etc.

Due to the flood, there are high chances of infection and diseases, so my parents decided that we all are going back to Mumbai, my father managed to book the tickets for all member of my family and finally, we came back to Mumbai with a sweet and bad memory of my short vacation.

When I reached Mumbai, I read on the internet that throughout the disaster, social media and the youngsters of Guwahati were of great help to the victims. Facebook turned on their safety marker so people could mark themselves safe to inform worried friends and family. People opened up the homes, temples, mosques, movie halls and malls to help victims. Youngsters went out of their way to provide transport. People who posted about missing family members on Facebook they found immediate help from residents in that area and nearby who offered help to go find them. So many people were found, and families reunited because of social media. People really got together to help each other out in this natural calamity.

This is my first experience of natural disaster in my life and this was probably the only one where I saw the faith in humanity. Guwahati is just one big family of strangers.

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