When the ground shakes
The last few days have been horrific for the people of Nepal. They’ve been horrific for several people all over the world too, those who’ve had their loved ones stuck in Nepal: with no news of their whereabouts and with no way to contact them. Even if Arnav thunders “the Nation wants to know, how a tragedy of this magnitude has occurred? ” no one can give an answer for when the ground shakes, all you can do is just pray that you stay grounded. Just pray that the fan swinging wildly over your head doesn’t fall down. Just pray that the walls around you don’t crumble and just pray that it all stays still.
I must have been hardly 3-4 years old when I remember the ground shaking. We were luckily out in the open, sleeping on the rope khatiyas out in the courtyard with the other families staying in our building. My memory is very vague as to why we were out there underneath the stars. Perhaps that was the way everyone slept in a Delhi summer but I distinctly remember being shaken like a rag doll. I was scared and couldn’t understand why everything seemed to be moving but luckily it stopped before anything could fall.
It was around seven years later when I felt the next tremors. This time we were in Pune and the Koyna river had just been dammed. The earth around was angry, furious at this violation and showed it one night. We woke up to the rumble of the beds moving beneath us and somehow made our way to my parents’ room. There the dog lay quivering and my father tried to open the bolt to get us out doors. He didn’t have his spectacles and tried to feel the bolt. The dog began to bark and we didn’t know whether to scream or laugh. My brother and I just clutched on to each other and then the trembling stopped.
Then in 2001 while the whole country was watching the Republic Day parade, I felt the fan overhead swing crazily and the ground beneath my feet shake. For a minute I wondered if I had lost my balance then my husband shouted out ” Did you feel the earth move?” That’s when I knew it was an earthquake.
There’s nothing really one can do when the ground beneath your feet begins to shake and frankly no amount of preparedness will every prepare you for such a tragedy.
With Nepal being the focus of a tragedy, my school WhatsApp group has been sending messages about what should be done in the event of an earthquake but from my first hand experience, when tragedy strikes your blood literally runs cold. All you work on is instinct and the only thing that helps is prayer.
The damage they say is enormous; it will take years for things to get back to normal again. But human beings are resilient and will slowly get there.
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