NEPAL QUAKE RETURNS: A Terror That Just Won’t Go Away

12 MAY 2015

(17 Days after the deadly M7.8 Gorkha Earthquake)

The day began on a rather hopeful note. The sky had cleared up after the heavy shower of the earlier night (the night when I celebrated my supposed survival by daring to go watch Avengers: Age of Ultron 3D).

As the sun shone on my bed and basked me in its comforting warmth, my heart jumped with an epiphany.

Yes, this is it! This is how the chaos ends. It’s just too perfect!

Funny how something as simple as the clouds in the sky has such a high co-relation with the hormonal activities in your brain.

I remember making a mental note to myself at the moment that the worst was over, and now I had to do everything in my power to bring my life back to normalcy.

Little did I know.

Sometime around 12:47 pm (thanks to WIKIPEDIA)

I was watching some video on YouTube in my office, and guffawing at god knows what with one of my colleagues.

I stopped abruptly as I thought I felt a tremor. A violent shock that felt something like missing a step on the stairs — though I was unsure if it wasn’t just a random jolt of my muscle. Without a warning then, everyone around me started to rush out. Now, our office is at the second floor so you can probably imagine the panic.

I followed the crowd but was still pondering if it was even necessary. I mean I felt the tremor, obviously, but was cautiously waiting for it to pass (like those other times in the past few days). Turned out, it had no plans to do that just yet.

The journey downstairs was one of those blurred moments in life that we cannot tell with certainty if it even happened to us.

The next memory is of reaching the open parking lot of our office. Facebook and mobile apps update that the quake was of M7.3 and the epicenter was Sindhupalchowk and Dolakha. Some say it was an aftershock, others bring news that it’s a whole new monster. Either way, it was a devastating one.

We try desperately to contact our families but the connections are jammed. If it’s hard fighting a life-threatening earthquake, it’s harder doing it without the people you love the most in the world around you. Some would argue it’s harder if your loved ones are with you because then you would be scared for their safety. But they don’t know what they’re talking about. Families that are together when such a disaster strikes are already a lot luckier than those who are not.

Two (or three) days later

Our second attempt at getting back to normalcy.

We go back to work. Watch our CCTV footage from the earlier day (the day we ran for life), and laugh at ourselves. That’s right. Laughter cures.

We also thank that no one got hurt that day in the stairs. They say frenzied rushing causes more injuries than the falling buildings, and I think I now know why. But what I also know is that the next time something like this happens again (don’t listen to me God… just a puny human blogging here), we will repeat the same mistake. We have become weak. Emotionally and psychologically. And the continuous aftershocks has left little room for a quick recovery. No matter how much we prepare ourselves, we will crack under the fear. Again.

One thing is certain, though. Yes, much of it is about being lucky. Or about the timing. But how much we prepare ourselves psychologically… matters.

We, for sure, weren’t ready for the second earthquake so soon. It shook our homes and our hearts. The life is far from normal. We go to work but are often not sure if it’s even worth the trouble. What if there’s a bigger quake coming? What if Kathmandu becomes the next epicenter? What if this… what if that? Uncertainty mounts. Answers are nowhere. Well, right answers, at least, are nowhere. And don’t even think about suggesting the internet. We have checked just about every fucking site that has even a remotest of connection to the words “earth” and “quake”. Except, perhaps, the rated sites. But give it time, we’ll get there too.

The point, however, is that when it comes to earthquake, it seems no one has the tiniest of clue of what they are talking about. They explain about patterns and numbers and theories and probabilities. But the thing about patterns and probabilities is that they assume too much. They tell things with limited degree of certainty. Yeah, thank you, data guy. I’ll pass.

Now what?

So what do we do now? Bemoan forever? Wait grimly for that next inevitable tremor that is supposed to destroy all of Kathmandu? The big one which can arrive anytime in the next decade, next year, next month, week, day? Do we really wait in fear for that long? Do we just stop… living? Go Buddha?

Well, regarding this, at least, there is an absolute certainty. And that is a big fucking “no”. No, we do not. We move on. We try to take the loss in our hearts and we move on. We have to. Or else, how will Nepal? There is no system restore button on this one. And there is nothing else to do than be optimistic and hope.

Because when it comes to fighting fear, there is no greater weapon than hope.

And there, certainly, are no better “wielders” of it than us humans.

Nepal Earthquake 2015: Those Three Dark Days

Do you know fear?

I thought I did.

I’m not talking about the fear of not getting first in the class or the fear of not standing up to someone’s expectations or any of such other puny matters. No offence to anyone who’s had to feel those things, but you don’t really realize their triviality unless the real thing comes up… that genuine, real tension… that panic. That tight feeling in your guts and in your throat. When that pumping heart of  yours tries to jump out of your throat and threatens to choke you.

I know now. Only death can ignite that fear. Death of you, your loved ones, your dreams, aspirations, possessions. And I am one of the lucky ones who didn’t have to face the worst of it!

But, now that I have felt it, I realize how phony all my old fears were. Useless. Meaningless.

So many dreams. Ambitions. So much struggle in life ever since the day you were born. And one day, one major earthquake comes along and it doesn’t take eight seconds to watch all those dreams wash away.

But do we then succumb to this uncontrollable fate of ours? Do we just let go? Stop struggling? Stop making efforts?

Of course not. We cannot let the thoughts of an uncertain tomorrow demean us from the path that we take today. We must not, by any means, give up to the feeling that we might not live to see the dawn. We have to persevere. For the next generation, and for the new Nepal. For, we may not live long, but our deeds will.

Since long have we spoken of, and dreamed of, building a new Nepal. Now, perhaps, is the time to really do so.

YEAR 2015

25 April, Sunday, 11:56 NST

An earthquake (later named Gorkha Earthquake) of magnitude 7.9 Richter Scale struck Saurpani, a VDC in Gorkha. It, along with other massive aftershocks, shook 11 disctricts in Nepal, including the neighboring districts of Chitwan and Nawalparasi, Sindhupalchowk, and the capital, Kathmandu.

Gorkha faces the worst nightmare, while Kathmandu, being a city based upon the valley basin (upon sedimentary rocks), also is in the gravest of dangers. It is Nepal’s largest earthquake ever since 1934 A.D. Death toll so far is 1400+ and rising by the hour.

A cloud of dust rise over the ruins that once stood proud as the heritage of not just Nepal but the World as well. At least, 5 sites of global cultural and historical value are down, including the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Kathmandu Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Changu Narayan Temple (to name a few)

IMG_20150425_155325[1]

One of the major temples, located at Thapathali, is down to rubbles

Those who find their head under a tent are the lucky ones.

26th April, Sunday, 12:54 NST

An aftershock of 6.7 magnitude struck 17 km south of Kodari at 12:54 NST and reignited the fear that had only just started to subside. As people became more detached from their houses and the source of proper information, rumors of a even bigger quakes (some up to 9 Richter Scale) started.

Panic really doesn’t help when you’re in an ancient city, surrounded by huge buildings on all sides, and with little open space to run to.

27th April, Monday

Aftershocks gradually decrease in magnitude but people are still afraid to go inside their homes (those who have one left, at least).  Many survivors take courage and start volunteering for the rescue and support of those in needs. 

Shortage of food and water is a possibility and the threat of a major epidemic outbreak looms.

Major quakes should be behind us, though. Theoretically, at least.

28th April, Tuesday

It is almost safe but light tremors could continue for weeks. Rescue missions and aids of various international communities accelerate. But the damage done has been huge and everyone needs to play their part. Even if that means going inside your home and leaving behind your tent for the one who hasn’t left any. Or just resuming your normal chores of life.

 

The three dark days in the history of Nepal are over but have been stamped onto our hearts forever. The fear and the terror is not easily forgotten. Neither would we want to. Let this be a lesson, a remembrance. A lesson in the importance of unity, togetherness, humanity, and the bond between two Nepali, regardless of his caste or class.

Thousands of people leave Kathmandu and return to their villages. Many weren’t with their parents and the loved ones during the disaster. They will want to be with one another  for a while and make themselves believe that they really got through this.

Many will return to happier homes, many to an even sadder ones.

Many will stay where they are with nowhere to go, and once their fear subsides, the sorrow of losing everything they owed would hit upon them. My prayers goes out to them and it is them that we need to reach out first, helping in whatever way we can.

No matter what category of victim we belong to, we will all soon recuperate. We have to.

The days of darkness will pass, but we will all have to play our part for the new dawn.

 

Please #PrayForNepal and support if it is feasible for you. Thank you!

http://qz.com/391473/how-you-can-help-nepal-right-now/

https://www.reddit.com/r/Nepal/comments/33wfxi/list_of_legitimate_charities_to_donate_to_nepal/

http://www.nepaleseabroad.com/nepal-earthquake-2015/here-is-how-you-can-help-earthquake-victims-in-nepal/