Even though 73-year-old Suhasini Mane, a resident of Phaltan in Satara district, landed in the city safely from the catastrophe-hit Uttarakhand, she is still being haunted by the horrors she experienced during her trip to Kedarnath. Mane said the only thing that helped her survive the extremely hostile weather was her determination to go on. She’s currently recuperating at the Shree hospital in Chembur.
Doctors treating her at the hospital said that she has developed blisters on her feet as she walked barefoot in the cold weather. They also said that Mane’s condition was stable, despite her endurance level being put to test for almost an entire week. “I reached Kedarnath with my travel group on June 17. We had to trek for at least 12 hours to get to the mountaintop,” said Mane.
Since the only means of transport were horses and mules, the group was asked to carry only essentials. This forced them to battle the extreme weather, after the torrential rains hit Uttarakhand, with whatever minimum they had on them. “I remember how the walls of our hotel started wobbling. When I looked out of the window, all the rivers were overflowing. Hotel beds were floating in water. We were able to exit the hotel only after the water receded,” Mane said.
The next three days turned out to be the most gruelling for Mane and her group of 12 companions. Their tour guide told them that in order to reach a helipad on the mountaintop, they had to walk in the blistering cold the entire night. To make matters worse, after braving the cold and reaching the top, the group discovered that they had trekked the wrong side of the mountain and the helipad was on the other side.
“I remember walking barefoot for almost three days, as we had to climb down the mountain and start trekking all over again to reach the helipad,” Mane said. The exhausted group finally reached Haridwar two days later following which they were flown to Delhi and finally to the city.
Cong, TDP slug fest
Despicable politics in a national tragedy came to fore yesterday, when a group of politicians from Andhra Pradesh engaged in a heated duel, followed by fisticuffs at Dehradun airport. The politicians fought each other over appropriating 200 tourists who had been rescued. Members of the Congress and the TDP had both booked flights to AP for the evacuees. They fought over whose plane the tourists would use to go home. Leaders of both parties pushed and shoved each other, as they tried to take ownership of rescue of the pilgrims. The pilgrims were finally divided between the two flights.