NRI Dunia
Think Outside The Box

No festive cheer, flood-hit areas grapple with gloom: Punjab

Kala Singh (60) from Mundi Cholian village is embarrassed to admit in front of his granddaughters that this year he won’t be able to buy toys for them this Diwali.
“I will borrow money from relatives or friends to at least give them sweets,” says Kala Singh, whose standing paddy crop on two acres was ruined in the recent floods.

This is not the plight of Kala Singh only. Most residents of flood-affected villages — Mundi Cholian, Mundi Shehrian, Gatta Mundi Kasu and others — are grim. They have lost everything in the deluge. For them, Diwali is turning out to be black with no happy faces around, no shops selling colourful gifts and sweets.

Out to feed his cattle, Sukhdev Singh, a septuagenarian, said of his 18 cows, only eight were left. Recalling previous years, he spoke about his house, festivals and how he used to give his daughters gifts on the occasion of Diwali. He has two acres of land along with two more on lease but the crop has been destroyed.

“Every year, I will go out on Dashera. This year, I cannot even think of it. I cannot even look at my own house, it is in such a bad condition. I used to call my married daughters and sons-in-law a day before Diwali and celebrate the festival together. How can I invite them this time when I do not even have a single penny with me,” he said.

Gatta Mundi Kasu resident Gurpreet Kaur said everyone was grappling with a plethora of problems that they had forgotten about the festivals. Gurpreet said she would always decorate her home with lights and diyas, but now the condition of the house was so awful that she was afraid to live there.

Talking about gloom in the festive season, Prem Singh, lambardar of Mundi Cholian village, said each year around this time, many shops used to come up in the area which bustled with activity. “This time, sorrow has replaced everything. Nobody has money and will to celebrate anything,” he said.
He said earlier after selling the paddy, he was able to provide a festive environment in the house, but it would not be possible this year.