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Reunion after 10 hours of heartbreak

It had started raining. Tsering Dolma slept peacefully at her home in Choglamsar village on Thursday night. Deldoma, Tsering's two-year-old daughter, was blissfully asleep too, wrapped in her mother's arms.

india Updated: Aug 09, 2010 23:28 IST
Tarun Upadhyay

It had started raining. Tsering Dolma slept peacefully at her home in Choglamsar village on Thursday night. Deldoma, Tsering's two-year-old daughter, was blissfully asleep too, wrapped in her mother's arms.

A little after midnight, the weather worsened and cloudbursts triggered sudden floods.

Water and mud descended on Choglamsar, 7 km from Leh town. The water burst into Tsering's house, sweeping away mother and child. The 26-year-old lost her grip of the baby girl.

"I was crying for help after being swept 1 km away from home," she said.

"Some locals saved me."

When she regained consciousness, she asked for Deldoma, but her daughter was missing. She cried and prayed.

"I never lost hope as I had faith in God," Tsering, who was admitted to a hospital, said.

"I kept praying and this gave me strength and hope."

On Friday morning, several hours after the flood had destroyed Tsering's home, a woman informed Tsering's brother that she had seen a baby girl at Leh's army hospital, alone and crying. He rushed to the hospital — and recognised his baby niece, who had been saved by strangers.

Mother and daughter are now recovering — together — at the army hospital. The family reunion was made more special on Monday, with Tsering's husband arriving from Siachen.

"I had only heard about miracles," Tsering said.

"But today it happened to me."

Not very far away from the Dolmas, a group of Kashmiri students staying in a hotel in Leh witnessed the floods' fury.

"We saw people running, houses collapsing," Faisal Amin, a Kashmir University student told HT on the phone.

"There was water everywhere."

Having survived the worst, they only have one wish: to return home.

(With inputs from Ashiq Hussain in Srinagar)