Letter to Editor — Nepal Earthquake
As a stressed-out Indian businessman, I visit Nepal every year in May to unwind and reinvigorate my frayed mind. This year was no different – the only difference was I brought my wife along. It was 12.40 in the noon when we stepped into the Mariot Hotel’s dining hall. We went to a corner and waited for the steward. Just then, the entire Hall shook, and the food vessels kept on the buffet table toppled, emptying their contents on the floor. First, I thought it was a terror strike. But it was worse than that. It was God’s retribution. I grabbed the arms of my wife, pinned her down on her chair, and urged her to stay quiet. No one knew what was going on as the shards of glass from the window panes came flying at us. We escaped through the emergency exit as debris from the ceiling rained down on the floor. What happened after that is too harrowing for me to recall.
By 3pm, the whole of Kathmandu seemed to be wailing. Ambulances, Fire Brigade vehicles, Police vans seemed to be crisscrossing the city’s lanes with wild frenzy. Debris from the collapsed buildings poured over to the streets further constricting the narrow roads. People gripped with panic huddled around street corners, too dazed to decide what to do next. Frantic cries for help rented the air. These were of those, who stood outside their crumbled buildings that had trapped their near and dear ones in the heap of shattered concrete and bricks. The angst and the pathos in their faces could melt the heart of the cruelest tyrant on earth. For my wife and me, it was a stroll in the streets of hell. Nature had unfolded its most savage face. A passing police van’s loud speaker announcements made us scamper to the safety of our room.