We saw it on TV.
We heard about it on the Radio.
We expressed our shock on social media.
We forgot all about it the next day.
Shock, horror, pity, sympathy, indifference – the usual cycle of emotions that we experience after a disaster that doesn’t directly involve us. The massive earthquake that literally and figuratively shook Nepal a few days ago killed more than 10,000 people. Did it affect you?
On April 25, 2015, a notification about a quake in Nepal flashed on my smartphone sometime around noon. By evening the quake had already claimed more than a thousand lives. I was appalled at the rate at which the number of deaths escalated with each passing day. A couple of tectonic plates below the earth’s surface had decided to converge and an entire nation was reduced to rubble. At the world’s highest mountain, adventure-seekers were buried alive in snowy graves. People had lost homes. People had lost lives. People had lost faith. And yet here I was, thinking that the pimple on my forehead was unfair.
I remember Nepal from my visit in August last year. I remember a country with beautiful mountains, people and temples. I recognise some of the places from the pictures shown on TV. I remember the busy Durbar square where we had taken plenty of selfies. I remember sitting on the steps of an ancient temple in Bhaktapur, on an overcast afternoon, contemplating life. The fact that the temple probably don’t exist anymore sends a chill down my spine. I have pictures of a beautiful Nepal in my cell phone. The extent of the disaster hits me when I compare them with the debris that they show on TV.
The rescue operations are in full swing. Governments from all over the world are sending aids of all kinds. Nepal has been struck below the belt and it will take a while to stand up on its feet once again. Meanwhile, stories of heroic rescues and lucky escapes keep surfacing from time to time. Each story is an inspiration in itself. These stories are kindling hopes in hundreds of hearts as people keep hoping against hope that their missing kin will be eventually found buried beneath rubble, wounded but nevertheless alive.
The human mind is wired in such a way that it always believes that things could be much better than they are at present. This is the reason why you feel unhappy most of the time. At some level, this quality of the mind helps us improve ourselves again and again but more often than not it makes us think negatively. Stock market crashes, being denied promotion, not having that perfect figure are some of the silly things that we fret about and in the midst of all the chaos that we create we forget the single most important aim of life- to live.
So, what does the Nepal earthquake imply? Do we shun our daily lives and keep mourning for the loss? Of course not, life goes on. Even for Rishi Khanal, the man who was trapped under rubble for over 80 hours and who had to drink his own urine to survive, life will go on. It seems ironical that even after having their limbs amputated and homes devastated these people feel they have something to thank God for. It blows me off completely. The catastrophe puts our life into perspective. It debunks all our materialistic notions and ridicules our way of life. It gives us some sane advice-count your blessings.
Featured image courtesy of askmissa.com