It was just a normal morning. A normal saturday. As much hype there was for “Resham Filili” the movie hall were to be packed with people, by packed, housefull in every single movie hall in Kathmandu. And so it was. I had already watched the movie on Friday, as Ektarey took me to the opening or premier thing. I enjoyed the movie and definitely wanted to watch the movie again, also the fact that Riti wanted me to go.
I had my breakfast and was basking in the sun on the roof before leaving for the movies. It was kind of windy that morning, strange and windy. After spending some time on the roof, I headed down took shower and then headed for the movies. Riti and I were supposed to meet at Tangal, I had told her to wait for me at the “Chata Ganesh” temple. I reached there earlier than she did, I waited for her against the wall of Euro school right outside the door. It took her about 5 minutes to reach there. We then headed out to Civil mall. As usual I drove to Sankata to park my bike. Then headed towards Civil mall crossing Dharahara on our way. As usual, like anyone, we looked up to the top of Dharahara. There were lots of people up there enjoying a beautiful Saturday morning. We passed Dharahara and were walking along the sidewalk next to the Nepal Telocom. Right when we crossed the main door of the Telecom about 30 meters from there. I felt a little dizzy and heard a bang, I didn’t feel anything at that point, I just heard a bang and what I thought was a transformer exploding turned out to be an Earthquake. The next thing I know I was thrown right into the middle of the road with that big jolt. As I fell on the ground and gathered myself and started processing what had happened, the ground was still shaking with full force. I looked for Riti and saw that she was still on the sidewalk right next to the Telecom wall, which were huge and if they had fallen down, both of us would have died right there. I ran t her and picked her up and brought her to the middle of the road. People were shouting, crying, running, laying on the ground. And the ground, it was still shaking! As I turned west and looked towards the Dharahara, I saw that there wasn’t one. A cold chill ran down my spine as I saw that scene. It wasn’t till then that I realized how big the Earthquake was. To be honest, amidst the chaos, I hadn’t been able to figure out that it was one big earthquake that hit us. It was then that I looked at my phone and opened twitter, I tweeted “Dharahara is down” but the network was already jammed so I wasn’t sure if it that went it. But later that night I realized that the tweet had gone in and people thought I was lying about it and there were replies that said, “You must be kidding”. I wish I was.
Scared and awestruck we just stayed in the middle of the road, without a single clue of what to do next. The ground was still in motion, in full force, we couldn’t even process that it had already been a minute or two that this had happened. Right at that moment, right next to that triangular traffic graden thing, the road started cracking, it wasn’t big, just like a hairline fracture but that was scary enough for us to be scared and find new ground to stand on. We then hurriedly entered Tudikhel, where at least 1000 of people had already found ground. At least nothing would fall on us in there. But the ground didn’t stop shaking or cracking so until and unless the ground did move far apart from each other we were fine.I had tried to call my parents, my brother in law anyone I could call but there wasn’t a phone network.
My house wasn’t the type of house that could survive a 7.8 magnitude earthquake, let alone that, we were scared that even a 6 magnitude earthquake would bring it down. While I was gathering thoughts, scared and speechless, millions of thoughts ran into my mind. I knew that my mum and dad were about to have their meals, on the kitchen that was on the 3rd floor of the house. If the house had fallen down, I was pretty sure that they couldn’t have made it down to safe ground on time. I was expecting the worst, because I saw the Dharahara fall right in front of my eyes, well I didn’t see it falling but I saw that it fell. And I was too scared to go home, so I just stayed there for hours. I didn’t even bother to go look at the condition of my bike because I had parked it in Sankata, in the middle of old houses, looking at the clouds of dust coming from what I thought could be sankata, I was pretty sure that my bike was inside rubbles by then. I have no idea how long we stayed in Tudikhel but I couldn’t gather up courage to walk home to see the house destroyed to pieces. The quakes didn’t stop, neither did thousands of people crying and shouting. After a while, few hours, at least 3, I decided that I should head home. I had to! So I just gathered myself up and started heading home. It was only then that I realized that it was bad! We passed the old Nepal Electricity Authority building which was now nothing but a pile of rubble. We passed the Narayanhiti museum with most of its gigantic walls down on the roads. When I reached Jai Nepal hall, I met my nephew. I ran to him and asked him if our house was destroyed or if he did come through that way. He was still in shock but he did say that I didn’t see your mum and dad but the house isn’t destroyed. That gave me a relief and I started running home, Riti was with me. We reached Nag Pokhari and saw the whole wall on the road and blood all over it, people were talking about how few police officers died there. I can’t even explain how it felt to see such scenes. Hurriedly I headed home and as I took a turn around Tukucha and saw that my house was still up, I have no idea how! I ran leaving Riti behind and tried to find my parents. I saw my sister in law right outside her house and she told me to hurry up because my mum was looking for me all over the place and that she was in a shelter inside the banquet. I ran there and saw my mum dad and saane sitting on the floor of the banquet. I ran to them, and my mum started scolding me and started crying. The scolding part was obvious, I’m glad that she didn’t slap me in front of everyone! That must have been the happiest days of my life ever till this day to see them alive. I just grabbed Saane who was barking at everyone. I told them about Dharahara and how screwed the city is and then people joined into ask about Dharahara and whatnots. I was so relieved that nothing bad had happened. The quakes didn’t stop at all, it would come back every minute or two. About two hours later, I thought about my bike, and thought if I should go look for it. My brother in law was back at hour house so he had a bike and he dropped me off at Tudikhel, there were still thousands of people there. It was chaotic, even while heading there we were hit by at least 5 big jolts. I ran to the end of Kathmandu mall and took a deep breath before entering that narrow streets of Sankata. Then with one big breath I ran inside Sankata to find that my bike was in good shape and so was all the houses in there. I started my bike and headed home. Home- that’s one day that reminded me about what Home means and how it is to have one and not lose it in just a stroke of Nature’s wrath.
The days that came after that was traumatic, chaotic, scary and whatnot. Living in a fear of dying any moment is not something fun to do. Not being able to sleep in the comfort of your bed for more than 2 weeks isn’t a fun thing to do.Running outside every hour or two because of the insane jolts wasn’t something fun to do. And, for those who did lose their family members, losing your parents, family member or relatives, it wasn’t something good to remember by. April 25th is always going to be a black day in the history of Nepal and Nepalis. I won’t even lie, it was one of the scariest days I have ever lived in my life. Even though I’m writing about it 3 years later, I still have chills running down my spine trying to remember the events of that day. Nature does make you feel inferior in front of her. And, we are!