Rajbagh will rise gain

Ambreen Hamadani

The streets of Rajbagh are dilapidated. They are dark with few houses lit up with electricity. Boundary walls are in ruins everywhere and most of the houses long to turn to homes again.
The month of September has been terrible for the residents of Rajbagh, with about twenty feet water filling their homes left, right and centre. More difficult than the initial shock have been the dismal days that followed.
There were times when nobody really believed that things would return to normal ever. I do not know what the people of “non flooded areas” say or have said about Rajbagh and why, but surely these were trying times for even the toughest souls alive.
People clung to optimism, making desperate attempts for survival. It was heartbreaking to be trapped in your own home; a place synonymous with comfort and security, to live in constant fear that the house could collapse anytime.
A look down the stairs showed the site of menacing waters just a few steps below. Seeing large boats sailing over your garden, sheds and walls is not a pleasing experience. But as the saying goes ‘Tough times never last but tough people do’, people have survived with the grace and mercy of the Almighty. But the journey has not ended here. The nights still are sad and full of foreboding silence. Even a screech from an owl is welcome.
Does all this mean that Rajbagh has given up? And that the flickering candle of hope has finally blown out?
Nay! The radiance that lights the faces today tells a different tale. Everyone present is smiling and the melody of Wanwun fills the air with a new and refreshing glow.
A car stands bedecked in the middle of the unfortunate street and the warrior of a groom sits inside. The fleet of cars is small, but the charm is immeasurable. The women there to bless him are few in number but their hearts are alive with love and affection. Their attires are simple and their feet planted in mud, yet their voices are sweet and heartening like warm fire on a cold winter night. Their spirit is contagious; it fills the air with light heartedness and brings spring to every step.
The scene of the recent disaster is not forgotten though. It looms all over like a threat. Everywhere, your gaze is met with telltale signs of floods. However, a light has been lit today and it is powerful enough to keep worries at bay.
Jhelum entered Ragbagh furiously, blowing off anything and everything. It ripped apart families, blew happiness into smithereens, leaving each household dilapidated and desolate. Depression covered the place like a canopy. Rajbagh, oozed out of the muddy waters and stayed even when the water receded.
The dark veil has slowly started to lose its power and the sun has begun to peep through the clouds. It takes a great deal of courage to fight your enemies but it takes a great deal more to fight the sorrow within your heart.
Marriages take place all the time but this one is different. No light can decorate the house and there is no extravagant feast and yet this is the happiest marriage in the world. Today people are celebrating life; celebrating the fact that they are alive and back on firm ground after many long and tedious days. But this marriage is symbolic as it bought happiness for whole locality.
There still is a long way to go and much to do. There will be no end to cleaning and reconstructing and it will demand every bit of energy and strength. To a heart that is torn with sorrow, a single shop reopening, a street vendor or even a small lamp brings infinite joy. And to see an event as “normal” as a marriage fills the air with a new refreshing fragrance assuring the sad hearts that, “we shall overcome some day!”
Truly, strong are the people who leave their worries behind and go in search of sanguinity. For hope is a thing with feathers that flies near your heart, willing you to capture it and turn it into something very beautiful. And I firmly believe that Rajbagh will rise again, the way it was before.
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