Wandering through a forest, Gopi had only one thing in mind – milk for her baby. So she fed on leaves for five days to ensure the little one did not starve.
Gopi and her group of Nepalese pilgrims trekked 50km from Gauri Kund to Rudraprayag before boarding a vehicle to Sri Nagar, 120km from Dehradun. Their first meal in six days was at the langar organised by the Sri Nagar Gurudwara.
Uncharacteristically, Gopi ate ravenously. “I am eating for the baby,” she said.
Kesari Prasad Shukla, who ran a dharmashala at Kedarnath, took a more familiar route to walk 14km to safety. But the going was tough as he had broken one of his legs.
“We were fast asleep on June 15 when nature unleashed her fury. Limping and bleeding, I managed to reach a chopper to be airlifted but 20 members of my family are missing,” he said at the Base Hospital in Sri Nagar.
At the Jolly Grant Hospital near Dehradun, MSP Reddy from Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh had no time to grieve the loss of five members of his family. Ailing from an injury sustained in the disaster zone, he took on the role of interpreter for pilgrims from southern India.
He also comforted others and gave them hope of meeting their missing kin. Ranjit from Kanpur asked him, showing photographs: “Did you spot my wife, daughters, brother and sister-in-law there?”
Reddy showed him a picture in his mobile phone. “It was not possible to spot anyone as the faces were covered. But if they were at Rambara till 2pm on Sunday, chances are they are still alive,” he said.
It was a straw of hope Ranjit clung to.