It was an afternoon like any other. I was at the market, trying to see if any nuggets of consumer insight could come my way. The wait was in vain. All approach roads to Muzaffarpur had been cut off. The feeder market was servicing itself and trying to stay alive. And then suddenly it happened.
A cycle came running in from the direction of the Akaharaghat Bridge. The rider seemed in a state of shock. The traders were out from their shop in an instant. The man stabilized after a moment and then gave the news. The embankments on the sides of Gandak had given away. The water was moving in and would soon flood the last remaining island in the district, the city of Muzaffarpur.
They say bad news travels fast. I still have the news alert sent on my mobile by Airtel, “Buri Gandak dam has given away”. Within minutes I saw the market clear off. The main city market bore the desolate look it adorns at night and I stood there wondering. After a long time in my life, I saw panic in the eyes of the people around me, i could sense the fear in the atmosphere. We were like mice trapped in a cage which some cruel boy playfully was letting down into a bucket full of water. Nature was playing with us.
The entire incident took place in exactly 8 minutes and yet, everything seemed to happen in slow motion.
Fear, it cripples even the sense of time.