Like any other Saturday, I got up late that morning feeling relaxed, a bit lazy, didn’t have any particular agenda for the day. I just wanted to spend the day making a few phone calls to friends I have been meaning to say hello, speak with family at home and finish with making the family calendar. I came wandering to the living room and S was stuck to the television. I am not a fan of TV so I didn’t bother asking what he was engrossed with. Made strong coffee and picked up my phone and there were 79+ notifications. I thought that was unusual! The next thing I know – Nepal was hit by a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake and that parts of India were affected as well. My hometown, Lucknow felt the shocks too. That shook me out of my then current state and got me to the reality.
My initial reaction was to pick up the phone and dial ‘Ma’. But phone wasn’t ringing at all. Thought must be a network problem and after a few tries, I spoke to my family. They were a bit shocked but all safe. Then, we checked the whereabouts of a few other friends and were glad to know that they were all fine. Such is human stance, after I knew my near and dear ones were guarded, I was finally in front of the television watching real news. It does sound a bit selfish but secure.
The news was agonising, more than 3000 folk were reported victim to this natural trauma with the warning that the numbers may rise sharply and the areas effected were not just Nepal, but the neighbouring countries too. The last earthquake happened in 1988 and this was only half expected. S said to me while still looking at the Tele, ‘I have been to Bhaktapur’. It was one of his touristy swings with dad (/in-law) and he educated me that it was called the ‘City of Living Heritage’. S is not very religious but clearly, Bhaktapur’s temples, it’s culture and the magnificent views fascinated him. I could hear a bizarre tenderness in his voice while saying all that. Guess he could relate to it even more than me because he has been there and experienced the place in flesh and blood.
The stories and anecdotes reported on the various news channels were heartbreaking. There were broken families more than broken buildings. There was one in particular that I can’t seem to get out of my mind. A plain -young looking man was sitting beside his rather shattered house waiting for his 5 month old child and his newly married wife to be dug out. He was a tormented father and a sorrowful husband. But, he didn’t cry, he didn’t howl. He ‘seemed’ only calm and placid but I cannot even imagine the storm inside him. He said in Nepali, ‘until about couple of hours back I could hear ‘Bhanu’ cry, but not anymore.’ Nepali is easy to understand for who knows ‘Hindi’ and with that statement of his, I was amazed how connected but disconnected I felt at that point. Sadly, there were not one but so many such stories shared on the television. But some images tend to stick for longer and this immensely did. The picture of that man made me feel feeble. My heart ached with the thought and the mind was perplexed. I could not sit in front of the television and watch the news for any longer but neither could I distract myself very much. The only thing that could perhaps balm me was a bit was writing, so I here I am! I live at a few continents length from my family and the ‘what if’ thought has occurred to me many a times. I have never had an answer and I don’t believe there is an answer for all the ‘ifs and buts’ life posses to us, sometimes most unexpectedly.
What I do know is life is not always long enough, but I don’t like to call it short either! Life has a beautiful width. All we need to do is use that width in the way that promises us a sound sleep and a happy next day. Use it to create the lace of your dress, or use it as a dark shade of paint on your canvas to create just the right contrast, use that width to plant some seeds in your garden and see the trees grow or even just use it to create an atlas of your own with the traveller in you.. Because, remember grass is NOT always green on the other side and life doesn’t always stay green too!
So make most of it & Feel Rawmazing !