NEW DELHI: The trilling of the phones, the pings of WhatsApp alerts, the dings of emails, and the beeps of Facebook updates just wouldn't stop. It was like a dam of electronic information was overflowing.
And in a way it was on the phones of several Kashmiri students and three teachers when they landed in New Delhi from Srinagar, which had been without mobile internet data connection for 23 days, following the lockdown in the Valley.
"Our phones just went on buzzing on and on and on, with the mountain of all the unread messages cascading as we entered the network zone in the concourse area of the airport. Many had switched on their phone afresh, and they were trilling at the same time," said Razia Mir, a student from the Valley.
Mir is among the 25 college students from Jammu and Kashmir who are currently visiting Delhi and the IT hub in neighbouring Gurgaon for the first time as part of a national integration tour organised by the Army to give them exposure to new technologies and encourage startup skills.
They arrived here via air from Srinagar on August 28.
Mohammad Kazim, 25, one of the three teachers, accompanying them, said, "We all had been eagerly waiting to enter the network zone in Delhi, from the moment we took off from Srinagar airport. Life had become very dull and full of boredom in Kashmir ever since the lockdown".
He said, nearly half of the group had post-paid connection, so it worked when we landed in Delhi.
"It felt so unusual when so many phones started trilling at the same time, as accumulated WhataApp alerts from the last 23 days kept on pinging, and many passengers even looked at us," Kazim said.
The visiting students, 12 girls and 13 boys, are from Tangdhar, Drugmulla areas in Kupwara district and Gurez in Badipora district.
Mir, an undergraduate student, when asked what she wanted to become in life, said, "My dream is to become an air hostess".
"I had even applied for a major airline, and sent my resume to them. But, I could never see their reply, since we did not have internet in Kashmir. It is when I landed in Delhi that all those unread emails on phones started flowing, emails stuck for over three weeks," she said.
Many students also shared the problem they have been facing since the lockdown in the Valley
A university student, who did not wish to be identified said, "The lockdown has really affected our lives in a big way. The day the lockdown was announced, I and few of my family members had to go out from Srinagar, amid high security deployment".
"These last 20-odd days have really turned many of us students towards depression, as our colleges are closed, and exams were due this month. I wanted to apply for Ph.D in a big university, but without internet connection, how do we do anything," she rued.
Shayista Qadir, another teacher, who has visited the national capital several times, when asked what the group liked the most about Delhi, she quipped, "Use of internet... we were relieved to finally be in a network zone".
"We have been living without internet mobile data for nearly a month now, and arriving in Delhi, felt so different... as we had been disconnected from the world outside," she said.
The group on Friday visited the National War Memorial here and are also scheduled to visit the office of Air Vistara in Gurgaon on September 2, officials said.
Kazim alleged that the last few weeks in Kashmir had been like "living in darkness" and in a "stone age-like era".
"We are here in Delhi, able to use our phone an internet, but still can't contact our family members. And, once we go back on September 4, we will again become cut-off from communication links," he rued.