Reena Gupta trekked 15 km on the mountains,with her two-month-old son in arms and seven-year-old daughter walking behind,from Badrinath to the safety of Gobindghat. It took the garment store owner from Ghaziabad one and a half days,and a lifetime of strength,to reach a motorable road from where an Army vehicle brought her to Joshimath on Friday.
Reena,26,and her family,including her husband and parents,had gone to Badrinath on June 12. Since we were blessed with my son Swarna two months ago,we wanted to come to Badrinath and seek blessings. But we had a terrible time of our lives, she said.
After the floods hit Badrinath,she and her family were among the hundreds of pilgrims stranded there. Finally,she and her husband did what many of the pilgrims have been doing trek across the mountains. Her aged parents stayed back and are still awaiting rescue in Badrinath.
But she never guessed there was more trouble waiting. After covering some distance,she fell behind her husband,Vishesh Gupta,and they lost track of each other. That left Reena with her two children. It was 6 am yesterday when we started trekking from Badrinath. My husband got merged in another group of pilgrims and we got separated, Reena said.
She was lucky to be reunited with her husband at Joshimath.
Although the Army personnel assisted me through the trek,one can imagine the plight of a woman who is carrying her two-month-old son,and her seven-year-old daughter is walking behind her on the hills, she said.
While we were trekking,we were given only tea and few biscuits. My son was in desperate need of the feed,but it was not possible for me at that stage, she said. All what I could give him was a biscuit. I used to chew the biscuit powder and feed him. He would cry and then sleep after getting tired.
We slept last night in an Army tent. This morning we again started around 7 am and reached Gobindghat. We trekked a couple of mountains and finally reached a motorable road. We were brought in Army vehicles to Joshimath. I am lucky,I could reach here, Reena said.
She said they would again have to return to Badrinath,this time to bring back their SUV.