'Kashmiri family gave us their only bottle of water'

For Geetha Ramanan, a Bangalorean who, along with her family, was stranded for over a week in the flood-ravaged Kashmir Valley, the safe return home would not have been possible but for the extraordinary hospitality and humaneness shown by the local people.

After returning to Bangalore on Saturday, Ramanan recounted to Deccan Herald how she and her family spent their days in the Valley during the unprecedented tragedy.
After reaching the Valley, the family spent two days in a house boat and had planned to go sightseeing in Srinagar thereafter. In the meanwhile, drizzle turned into a downpour which quickly caused major rivers in the Valley to breach, leading to flooding.

Before long, they were confined to their hotel in Srinagar. The family’s plan of leaving Srinagar for Pahalgam on September 5 was dealt a decisive blow. “We were stranded in the hotel for a good seven days,” Ramanan recalled, especially mentioning the hospitality of the staff at Heevan Hotel.

The hotel staff left no stone unturned to make the guests comfortable, although their own family members were stranded in other parts of the Valley.

“Despite meagre resources, they provided us three basic meals a day. Although they were worried about the safety of their families, they performed their duties exceedingly well to ensure least discomfort to us,” Ramanan recalled.

A local family gave the tourists the only bottle of water they had. As ATMs had gone out of order, the hotel management didn’t ask the tourists to pay the bills. “The hotel owner said we could pay after returning home. The hotel gave free food for six days. Customers offered to give their credit card details, but the hotel management refused to take them,” he narrated.

Ramanan was accompanied by her husband Shezan Bhojani and in-laws Mobin Bhojani, Saida Bhojani and Shahala Bhojani.

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