'For two days, a tree was our house'

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For the Guravs it was a nightmare that finally came to an end. Jayashree and her husband Jaywant, residents of Chinchwad, had set out with 70 others for the Char Dham yatra organised by Pune’s Shiv Gauri travels, a pilgrimage that would soon turn out to be a life threatening journey for the elderly couple.

Sixty-year-old Jaywant, says, “We first reached Rampada; then we were unable to get any transport and had to walk some seven km back to our hotel. The next day, we stepped out of the hotel to catch up with the rest and it started to rain heavily. We rushed back to the hotel and requested them to spare us a room. But the hotel people said they have plans to close down the hotel as a high alert had been sounded.”

Jaywant said that for two days they along with other pilgrims sat atop a tree for safety. “There was no food, no water. We were chanting and singing bhajans. That tree became our house. When we used to look down, we could see dead bodies floating in the water. Twice we made attempts to get off the tree but failed.”

Jayshree, 57, says, “Finally we came down the tree with the help of the army soldiers. We were given food and saline solution. Later, the soldiers got us a phone to call our son Nitin. There was an issue about flight tickets but Thane collector Manoj Ranade made arrangements for us and on Saturday night we reached Pune.”

It was a narrow escape for the couple but that has not shattered Jayshree’s faith in god. The first thing she did on Sunday was to perform Vat Savitri puja, thanking god for sparing their lives. “It’s re-birth that god has given us. We had near death experiences, and all that I’ll say now is our world is our home.”

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