I cross my fingers, knock on wood and whatever other voodoo required the Earthquakes have finally stopped: at least lessened significantly. We still get a couple of jolts here and there, last week we got one that forced me to jump out of bed half naked and run for the gates but in the whole it’s safe to say(I hope) that we’ve entered a post quake era.I’m only talking about Kathmandu here not the entirety of Nepal, seismo Nepal at the time of this writing still reports quakes the size of 4.5 Mangnitude in Dolakha and as a resident of Kathmandu i am fully aware how scary if not lethal those are.
First of all before I say anything else, I would like to say i’m grateful that my entire family(Mom, Dad, Sister, Bhanja & all our closest relatives) survived this travesty. I don’t know if God protected us or we were just very very fortunate and nor do I care, I’m just happy we didn’t increase the death toll, although for many days I was not sure we wouldn’t but i am glad that we didn’t.
You see ours is a very old and not so well built home just like a
plethora all of the other houses in my neighbourhood, which are either too big and god awfully constructed or are too old and of desperate need of renovation. Add to that the congestion(I live in a place called Jyatha, somewhere in between Ason, Kantipath and Thamel). It is a miracle then that our community has been spared:( i didn’t think there was much of a community before the quake hit, but turns out there is). Many houses are badly damaged that require breaking down, many of the inhabitants of those houses were badly hurt during the quake but none(that i am aware of), were fatality injured in the catastrophe.
The government should’ve done better but we all knew they weren’t going to, just look at them now, they haven’t even appointed a chairperson for the re-development committee, those guys are, as they always have been: blood sucking parasites, burdens on our nation. Not all of them, of course, but enough of them to justify the vilification of anyone who says i’m affiliated to a political party. So when those morons couldn’t do anything for their “constituents” other than try to steal aid it wasn’t a surprise, disappointing? yes, heart-wrenching? yes, disgusting? yes!, a burning desire to line them up and have them all executed by a firing squad? most definitely!!! but surprising? No, i wasn’t surprised.
What did surprise me though and in a very very good way was the dedication of the police, army, firemen and medical personnel. You hear all those stories now and think wow “Heroes”, although i don’t know any of them by name but they are heroes.A short story i would like to share: My family was camped in the Nepal Election Commission building, life wasn’t great there but the security personnel present were fantastic. On the 5th day we had a shortage of water in the camp, the many hundreds of families there all used the water provided by water provided in the morning but on that day, we ran out. The heat was killing us and one old aunty went up to the armed police force and asked him if there was and he said there was none left, at that moment another police officer came along and I quote “pani kholdey!(give them water)”, the first officer replied “mathi bata nadinne nirdeshan ayeko xa(we have orders from above to not to give them any water), the second then went and opened the water lines “j parxa ma byeharumla, kasto manxey le esto prakop pareko bela pani nadine vanxa?(I will bare the consequences, whatever they might be, what kind of person denies people water in this time of need(a disaster situation?)”. Now if you’re an outsider you may consider this a dereliction of duties for one day of water, but remember that small act of kindness allowed a 90 year old woman to clean her wounds, allowed the children to was the dirt of their faces and be relieved for at least a little while. So may of the officers stationed there, doing there duties had families in the remotest of villages with no idea if their own families were safe or not and were, without fail protecting the citizens.
Many heroic stories of the police, the common men have emerged from the quake. Many of my friends have visited remote villages with aid, volunteered for structural assesments etc. I did not, I volunteered locally did the best I could around here but beyond that I wasn’t of much help.
With the quakes now subsiding though, I am afraid, if we could only sustain than surge of nationalism, patriotism and over good nature and rebuild our nation, the possibilities are for us as a people truly endless. But I do not write this article in hope. For what I feared what would happen already has, I’m seeing it happen all around, brother divided by bitter rivalries, by insignificant family feuds who galvanized in chaotic circumstances have already begun to turn on one another. What are they to do? “Blessed be the poor” that’s what is says in the bible i think, i always laugh at that, the poor as blessed as a blind kitten without a mother. What are our people to do? They would like to build there homes strong, I have no doubt about that but they are “blessed” all they have are prayers so what our people do is be stubborn, the Machiavellian “kehi hundaina estai ho” attitude.
My house still shakes, my room specially a few of my friends almost ran away when they first entered(to give you a better picture) but what am I to do? Houses are expensive. Strong, durable houses,I would imagine, more so. So what am I to do? Well I have taken up the “kehi hundaina” attitude my self at least for now. A lot of people on the street are saying we’re ok for another 80 years, well the reality is while statistically true, it’s not a sure thing, it’s like taking a gun with a 100 round clip only putting in 1 clip and pulling the trigger. There’s a 99 in 100 chance that you won’t be shot but there’s still that 1 percent shot that you will. And believe me this house won’t withstand another one of those quakes, most house here won’t. But we don’t expect a helping hand, we just, work hard, stay true, and hope. No wonder people pray.