Shilpa maintained her composure as she walked out of Jammu airport on Saturday afternoon, and burst into tears only after she found the warm embrace and open arms of family members waiting for her.
The 24-year-old (identified only by her first name) survived the dark, terror-filled Friday morning in Leh after water burst from the skies above her and flooded the land.
She was among the 99 passengers of an Air India flight that brought survivors of the flash floods to Jammu.
“It was as if hell was let loose on the town, bringing death and destruction to Leh,” said a trembling Shilpa, whose husband Harjot is a businessman in Shinem, 10 km from Choglamsar village, one of the worst-affected areas. “It happened so fast that we didn’t get a moment to think about the enormity of it.”
A swift wave swept Shilpa, Harjot and their employees out of their rooms, and threw them against a wall “that somehow withstood the water fury and saved our lives”.
“We could hear cries of people trapped in the mud and slime trying to wade out to safer places,” she said.
Their house and store that housed goods worth lakhs of rupees were washed away in the deluge.
Harjot, an army goods supplier in Leh, has stayed behind to salvage their belongings.
Shilpa claimed at least 500 people were still trapped in Choglamsar. “Their fate is unknown,” she said.