Kedarnath Loss Still Haunts Rathis

kedarnath-tragedyA year has passed since Rathi family of Khetrajpur here lost its 17 members in the Kedarnath tragedy that rocked the country on June 17, 2013. But the nightmare of the calamity that took thousands of lives continues to haunt the bereaved family.

Recounting the horror, Pramod Rathi said his mother Pushpa Rathi, then 63 years of age, had called him at 6.30 am from Kedarnath to tell him of the danger from the massive flood that struck Kedarnath. Suddenly there was a loud explosion and the mobile connection snapped. Pushpa’s apprehensions proved true as 17 members of Rathi family including her were swept away by the deluge.

The only survivors of the family were Pramod’s father Suraj Rathi (69) and Binod Mantri (59) of Kolkata, who managed to save their lives by clinging on to an iron grill of a window during the massive landslide.

A year later, the family has moved on accepting the tragedy in its stride. But rebuilding their lives is difficult. The irreparable loss continues to haunt them at every step of life.

The family now has applied for the death certificates of its loved ones, said Pramod.

Nineteen members of the Rathi family had reached Kedarnath on June 15 after visiting Gangotri and Yamunotri. At Kedarnath, they checked in to Rajasthan Guest House and were staying in the first floor of the building.

After paying obeisance at the Kedarnath temple, they decided to stay back even though it rained heavily. When the deluge struck, Suraj and Binod watched helplessly as their loved ones were washed away.

“I watched helplessly as the building collapsed like a pack of cards. With it, everyone was washed away,” said Suraj as his wrinkled hands reached out for the photographs of the ones he had lost in the disaster.

Struggling to lead a normal life after losing 15 kg in the last one year, Suraj misses his wife Pushpa with whom he had spent 45 long years. Moaning the death of his wife and nephews, Suraj said he has lost the very purpose of living after the incident. “The incident would continue to haunt me till I breath my last,” he said.

However, the declaration of CBSE results recently has brought something to cheer for Rathi family. Three children of the family have passed the CBSE Class X and XII examinations with flying colours. Cousins Apurva Rathi and Varsha Rathi secured 95.6 and 94.8 per cent respectively in the CBSE XII Commerce examination from DAV Public School, MCL, Burla while Adarsh Rathi secured 10 CGPA in his CBSE Examination from Madnawati Public School here.

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