‘E’ for earthquake

A sultry April afternoon in Siliguri and I was on the veranda of a friend’s house, sipping tea and exchanging pleasantries.

Suddenly the tea table seemed to shift the slightest bit and a sugar spoon clinked against a plate. I looked up at my friend and wondered if her foot had struck the table, maybe while trying to stretch her legs? She stared back with an inscrutable expression and as if reading my mind, said ‘Not me. I think it’s an earthquake.’

The next jolt was stronger. This time my heart shifted inside of me. We got up shakily and ran out to the garden calling to the maid and dog to hurry up, please… leaving cups and plates to clatter to the floor.

We held hands and stood in a circle — my friend, her maid and I — the furry white Apsu in the center — while the ground swayed beneath us. Would it crack open and swallow us up, like in the movies?

As the tremors continued, I looked up at the rain-laden clouds above and wondered if this was how my life was destined to end. I didn’t want to die just yet, but was glad of the company of the little doggy, the wide-eyed maid and my friend who continued to mumble a  prayer –just in case I did.

Sikkim-earthquake-3.jpg

Perhaps it lasted only a minute but it could’ve been a lifetime.

It was later that I learnt the epicenter was in Nepal, the quake was of magnitude 7.8 and had caused the capital city, Kathmandu, to shift 3 meters to the south in just 30 seconds. More than 8,800 people died in the catastrophe and nearly three times as many were injured. Another 3.5 million more were rendered homeless. (source: Wikipedia)

nepal-earthquake

I’ve asked myself since – why does it take an earthquake for us to hold each other’s hands and realize that we are all a part of the same limitless, formless whole?

 

This post is the fifth in a series of 26 posts that I am writing throughout the month of April as part of the A to Z challenge 2016.

 

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21 thoughts on “‘E’ for earthquake”

  1. What a profound post..absolutely in love with this..I felt I was there with you all, yes its true of the question you ask in the end. It does take an earthquake to hold hands, sadly. Lovely writing style and I am coming back for more.
    If you get time, I would love if you could stop by my blog and share your thoughts on my short stories ! More power to you !!

    @Subhmohanty from
    And Life Unfolds…

    A*Alone B*Butterfly C*Curry D*Dance E*Edge

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      1. Thank you so much !! WOuld love to hear back your thoughts on my stories..wish you all the best and waiting to read more of you soon !!

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  2. During the Nepal earthquake, I was in Rishikesh sitting by the river side on a mudda (chair). I thought something has got inside the mudda…and then it happened few seconds later and saw all coming out of their tents. The tremors were so huge so wonder how it would have been at the epicentre then. True, at times like these we realize that we need to united, together and why not at other times!

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      1. I remember keeping my valuables by the door ready to run out of the flat if I felt tremors again… Yes, fear keeps us vigilant for a while.

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  3. Wow! I really enjoyed reading this and you really captured the moment so well. I agree with what the other readers have said about your ending and it’s terrible that it does take a crisis to bring people together.
    I experienced a tremor many years ago but it was quite mild although it did cause a lot of damage in Newcastle North of Sydney. However, I experienced similar terror when I got caught out in a hail storm https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/11/13/surviving-the-storm-at-ocean-beach/
    I love photographing huge clouds over the beach and I wasn’t the first time I’ve been caught out but it was the worst. xx Rowena
    By the way, have you read “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran? If not, I think you’d really like it. I wrote a ltter to him for G today.

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