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.
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)
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.