Wednesday, July 3, 2013

After Chaar Dhaam: Notes from hindsight

Two weeks after we completed our 10 day trip, there were cloud bursts and flash floods in Uttarakhand. The worst hit places were Rudraprayag, Kedarnath and Badrinath. The very same places I stood with Ma and Baba. They say thousands have died. The calamity was of an unimaginable scale. My first thought as I read the news was what if..what if I was standing there with my folks. What if while I made them smile for the hundredth photo, a massive roar caught us off-guard. And one of us was swept away. While everyone watched helplessly. I cringe at the thought of a dear one getting a mild scratch. Then, what if I had lost one of them in front of my eyes. I know I wrote about how praying at Kedarnath was life changing. But we pray for our well being right? You know the laundry list - take care of our family, keep us in good health, keep everyone happy and safe and so on. Of all the places, the shield of protection should have been the strongest in Chaar Dhaam right? The holy abode where thousands go walking through awful roads. Some without shoes. Some without warm clothes. Children in tow. Then what happened to all the prayers and all the faith? I am not making any point here. Just that writing about my trip almost seems monstrous now. And sometimes keeping your faith intact can be a tough task.

While we were on the road, I remember Ma saying innumerable times - they should do something about these roads. One heavy downpour and these roads will be wiped out. She did not know then how close to the truth she was.