After facing a 72-hour ordeal in rain-shattered Uttarakhand, Harbhajan Singh finally reached home in Jalandhar at 3.30am on Thursday. The 32-year-old cricketer says he had been planning the pilgrimage for years, and neither he or his family and friends (they went in a group of 12) knew what tragedy awaited them on their way to Hemkund Sahib gurudwara in the state’s Chamoli district.
“We reached Joshimath on June 15, and were supposed to start the yatra the next day. But it started pouring heavily, so we were asked to postpone it by a day or so ... but unfortunately, the rain did not stop. It became worse. The roads were shattered, bridges were broken. There was no where to go due to landslides. We were stuck and all we could do is to pray and wait for things to clear,” says Bhajji.
The off-spinner took shelter at the Indo-Tibetan Border Police camp at Joshimath for four days. “I regret that my journey remained incomplete, but can’t thank God enough for saving our lives. My heart goes out to all those who are suffering from this tragedy ... it’s sad and unbelievable, something which was never seen or heard before. The roar of water still haunts me ...I could not gather the strength to see the massive floods but the noise was such that it did not let us sleep,” says Singh, praising the jawans and Uttarakhand government for doing their bit.
However, Bhajji’s resolve is not shaken. “It (pilgrimage) could not happen this time but when God calls me back, I will surely go there.”
Bollywood tweets prayers
A moment of prayer for those that suffered the floods in Uttarakhand ... many stuck, many lost .. army doing incredible job !! Salute
—Amitabh Bachchan, actor
Prayers to the families of all affected.#salute to #IndianArmy. Hats off #Uttarakhand flood helpline no 0135-2710334, 0135-2710335, 0135-2710233
—Neha Dhupia, actor
“Pray for all those trapped and those who have loved ones trapped in Uttarakhand to find the strength to remain hopeful
—Farhan Akhtar, filmmaker-actor
There's so much to say how ruthlessly we destroyed our Himalayan ecology, but right now it’s time to save those caught in a massive human tragedy
—Shekhar Kapur, filmmaker