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Disclaimer: This piece of fiction is emotionally sensitive in nature. Reader discretion is advised.
Re-construction has started, rehabilitation is in process and the headlines on newspapers scream another disaster, but in an effort to remember Nepal compassionately, an author attempts to look at the country that has been devastated by two major earthquakes this year.
I was nestled against the window, contemplating why I saw what I saw in my dream earlier that morning. It was the most terrifying scene and it has been etched in my memory for eternity now. In my dream, the earth shook and I lost ground. Simple but terrifying. I mustered the courage to get out of my reverie to walk downstairs to the kitchen. It was almost 12pm and my stomach was rumbling. I hope Mum comes back from the market soon.
As I stood at the top of our staircase, I saw the lamp in our tiny dining room start to swing – vigorously, like a pendulum. With each oscillation, the steps beneath me creaked and I shivered too. At once, I rushed down the remaining stairs and before I knew it, the lamp had fallen to the floor, but its sound was drowned out. In a flash, without thinking of the lamp that was my favorite reading companion, I fumbled downstairs to reach my sister.
As I made my way across the dining hall, I could feel the magnitude of the vibrations increase and realization dawned; there was no escape, only shelter.
Panting, I tried to run into my sister’s room, but the house was coming apart. Our house, with its hand-painted walls, where I belonged, was ripped with the rage of the earth. I crouched underneath the sturdy dining table, looking into my sister’s room, expecting to see her run out towards me at any second.
And in a moment, I froze. Amidst the shaking, I saw my little sister’s hand – Unmoving. I couldn’t believe my eyes; she had to be okay. She had to be okay, I chanted to myself. Everything shook for what felt like an hour. And as suddenly as it came, it stopped.
As the ground beneath my feet stabilized, I sprinted to her room, dodging debris. I felt bits of rock scraping m skin, even my forehead. My skin on fire, I dug through the room. I gathered my strength to raise my sister’s study table and breathed a sigh of relief. She had managed to remove her bruised hand from under the table and sat in a corner, shivering. “Baini,” she cried.
Half-crying inside and half-relieved, I wrapped my arms around her and heaved her across my shoulder, finding an escape from the fast-falling building. I don’t remember how I got outside to see the sun or the ruins, but I did. I lay my sister on the ground, asking her if she was alright. She nodded, still crying. I looked around to see some of my neighbors wailing, many scattered and shocked. My friend from next door stood frozen in the compound, staring silently at the bricks of her house, as if they had betrayed her.
I saw my mum running towards me, but everything started to blur. I felt the blood dripping off my forehead. As if someone had cut off my legs, I fell to the tattered floor with a thud.
I could hear my mother screaming. I could hear my sister crying. Strangely without any pain, I gripped at my mother’s hand and smiled. They’re okay.
RYOT has initiated a virtual reality project where a viewer can experience the episode in a Nepal Earthquake video, walk in the shoes of a victim and feel compassion, instigating the need to help out:
Here’s how you can help the people of Nepal: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/04/25/world/nepal-earthquake-how-to-help/index.html