Illustration by Aamnah Arshad
Illustration by Aamnah Arshad

It was the month of July, the weather was hot. The rays of the sun were scorching our faces and plants were dying. The farmers in my village were facing a shortage of water, and their crops started to wither. Similarly, those who had cattle were also worried because there the supply of grass and water were scarce. The days were so hot that nobody could work in the fields after 10:00am.

Days passed, suddenly, the weather began to change, clouds started to emerge in the sky and everyone in the village became happy as it was the sign that there could be rain anytime, which would quench the thirst of the earth, plants and people, as well as solve the water problem. Everybody was excited, but nobody knew that these rain clouds would change their destiny. And then the rain started.

The rain kept on going for many days, though the water shortage was solved, now other problems arose. Stagnant water was found everywhere, there was so much water that nobody could even ride a bike on the roads. The week-long rains resulted in flooding. We heard that several neighbouring villages had been flooded and people are trying hard to save themselves and their cattle.

And then it was our turn. Early one morning, I heard people shouting because our village was also flooded, though the water was still not too high. Everybody was striving to save their important belongings. Some people were busy getting boats to move to safety and higher grounds. It took just a couple of days for my fellow villagers to migrate. Our home was located on a small mound, so we did not migrate, we were living at the mercy of God.

After a week, we noticed that instead of decreasing, the water level kept on rising, and as did out troubles. There were many snakes that were also running to safety as their holes were filled with water. We killed more than thrice a day. We had only one weapon, an axe, that sometimes my father used and sometimes I used it to kill snakes.

There was also a dog, Moti, in our neighbourhood, whose owners had left him when they had fled. So he had no place to go because of water being all around. I heard him barking, so I decided to go and bring him to our home.

I took our boat towards the dog and called out to him. Moti was domesticated so he jumped towards me and climbed the boat. It seemed he had not eaten for many days and was very weak, so I took him home and provided him with food. Moti became my playmate and favourite pastime.

The next evening, the weather was very gloomy and unpleasant. I was sitting outside just a bit away from the water body when I heard the cries of a cat. The cries became louder and louder, so it became impossible for me to not go and rescue the cat.

My father tried to stop me, but I said I would be back if I didn’t find the cat. I took the boat and started my journey. In a few minutes, I heard a big thunder and then rain started falling heavily. The wind was also thunderous.

I was shocked and feared for my life. The wind was so strong that I could not maintain the balance of my boat and I fell in the water. I saw some trees floating in the water and, despite my efforts, I couldn’t swim in the strong current. The whole environment looked like I had fallen in an ocean, with no sign of help. I was trying to keep afloat, moving here and there, and suddenly water led me towards a tree.

I was trembling in the cold water, clutching the branches of a tree which my injured hands. Despite that, I hugged the tree. After some time, the storm stopped. Then I started swimming towards my home.

Finally, I reached my home safely. I found my father walking nervously, while my mother was praying and all my siblings were crying. Seeing me, they all ran towards me and hugged me so tight.

I was happy to be alive and realised what a narrow escape I had. Finally, as it was the last spell of rains, the weather cleared, but it took months for the water to subside and people to return to their homes. We shifted to a camp temporarily, taking the dog with us, who now became a part of our household.

We, like many others, lost a lot in the flood, but I gained a faithful friend, Moti. Even the darkest cloud has a silver lining.

Published in Dawn, Young World, April 13th, 2024

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