Hyacinth is entangled in the metal transom over a broken door. On the ledge, about eight feet above, hangs more hyacinth. Some of the streets too are flooded with it.
After the Gurram Cheruvu bund broke on Saturday night, flood waters brought with them the lake’s invasive vegetation to Baba Nagar, apart from devastation and despair.
It was late at night that residents realised the water level was rising perilously, and that they had only a few minutes to act. While those living in single-storey houses rushed to save themselves and their families to structures with more floors, others moved to safer neighbourhoods.
Mohammed Salman, a Baba Nagar–B Block resident who specialises in optical fibre trenching, says it was around 1.30 a.m. that the water level started to rise. Within a few minutes, he sought help of an acquaintance who evacuated his family in an SUV. Salman stands in his now ravaged home, shin-deep in muddy, cold water, with nothing but the clothes on his back. “Looks like we have to start all over. This has set us 10 years behind,” he says, and points to the place where a wall once stood. From here, one can see his TV set which was swept away in the torrent, and is now in the firm grip of a non-functioning electrical transformer.
Across the narrow road lives Mohammed Moinuddin. A couple of days ago, he was busy planning his sister’s wedding. But on Sunday morning, gold, clothes and cash, were swept away along with the almirah in which they were kept.
“Her wedding was scheduled to take place on November 12. Five tolas of gold, a lakh in cash, and some other articles were in the almirah. We don’t know where the water took it. As you can see, there is nothing here. The water was 10 feet high. At 2 am, I found shelter on the second floor of the neighbouring building,” says the 24-year-old who moved to Baba Nagar with family from Rein Bazaar 18 years ago.
The neighbourhood was to see another wedding, that of Ghousia Begum’s daughter. “We want to get her married in six months. While we didn’t buy a lot, but the few clothes that we had bought are soiled,” she says, adding the family of seven moved there three years ago. “The rent in Yakutpura was high, so we came here. Our landlords too have moved out,” she adds.