Saturday, 18 February 2012

When the floor underneath shook.....

Apa, ama, aunty's son, my cousin and me, were on our way to Phuentsholing. I was to leave for India to pursue my further studies. The reporting date was 22nd of September. For the first time i was to experience a border life struggling all by myself, till now all depended upon my parents. My parents wanted to see me off from the border town since it will be the last  to share our parents and son glances  and  i would not see them for sometime from there on. With full excitement along with little sorrow for having to be separated from my parents, we reached Phentsholing. It was seventeeth of September month. Arriving to phuentsholing, i could feel differences in the weather in Thimphu and there, the scorching heat that was piercing through my skin and continuous sweating made me kept wondering if it was the case here, then how would i survive in India. Tired, we reached my auty's house and i didn't take a minute to take a nap on the warm bed. After i woke up, night has set in, environment  was cool and apa asked me to go with him to exchange the currencies. Just we were way home back when my aunty called me and asked me to go to play mela. " mela changmae dikhey kota",(kota:means brother,my home name) followed her sharp voice which still lingers in my ear. My heart almost reached my mouth while playing the giant rotatory wheel.After that, had some icecreams to remove off the circle-circle thing that was moving inside my head because of the wheel and then we were back at home. We all had dinner and went to bed for the peace day ahead.

"The morning is cool, fresh and today is my last morning in Bhutan", i thought. Apa and me decided to go for shopping after the breakfast. We didn't do shopping much, only the necessary things for the college. My only intention was to buy a mobile, went round the electronic shops written "NOKIA" on it. No mobile made me happy and if it made, the high price didn't supported me. Finally i picked up something in random, it was better and the price was suitable.

I was back at aunty's house, when at 3:00 pm, my friend called me to gather near moonlight hotel. We all met at 4:00 and gave our share of money for the train ticket. Rest of the day went doing nothing.

TIME: at around 8:30: DATE:september 18: my mother and one of my cousin(girl) was in the kitchen. Dad and uncle in the sitting room witnessing the dungtsho layreem(weekly health programme with the medical specialist), aunty gone somewhere and i was busy browsing through my new mobile, my elbow on the refrigerator, standing straight and behind me my middle cousin sitting on the bed going through his books. It was then, when i was about to open the music folder i felt the floor below me shaking, the glassed cupboard making irritating noise. For few minutes, i thought my brother was dancing behind, but when i saw myself shaking uncontrollably and the tings(holy bowl) falling off from the choesham(alter), there i realized..yes! its an earthquake. I didn't know what to do, my hands tight on the edges of the fridge, after sometime everything became dark, i felt my brother's hand around me from back, i felt the death so near, i thought before reaching college, i am going to meet the god of death and i started chanting "om mani padme hun, om mani padme hun"(prayer). The shake  lasted about 10 minutes and then suddenly, everything became silent and still. Just then, my uncle came running to the room shouting" phiska jukcho kota, Sonam(brother's name)" Still in shock, i made my way through the sitting room, no one was there, i was worried where my apa and ama went. I went down running, on my way, heard childrens crying, girls screaming. Outside, i saw people all gathered, my mom carrying my sister's baby( cousin) almost in tears but her tear fell off when she saw me and said " college mashekparang aei pura shelay lamay"(before u reach your college, we will all die) her voice vibrating. I remained quite, still in shock. I tried to call back home in thimphu, where my grandmother and brother is all by themself but the mobile singnalled connection error. All network and electricity supply was disturbed.We could contact no one. My father"s phone rang after sometime and it was call from my sister from her college in Sherubtshe, her voice too shaking as she was crying. Everything was dark, i saw few policeman with torches near our crowd, i heard them talking about the damages the earthquake has caused in the town.My mind still worried about my brother and grandmother, kept on trying home but in vain.

It was a relief when our houses were lit back to light, everything glittered, i could see everyone clearly and back to normal. I looked up on one of the window where i saw the thangka(painting of god on the silk brocade) hanging slanting, the shake has dispositioned it. Every one was hesitant to enter back to house with the fear of being hit again but after waiting for 2 hours outside, the number of people outside decreased, everybody felt safe to go inside,i also went inside with my family. Network was back, i called Thimphu and was relieved that everything was  fine.My aunty was also back home,her face red hot and was watching the BBS channel.

Tashi choden, the news reporter was speaking live in the studio "Bhutan has been hit by an earthquake of magnitude 6.8 just a few minutes ago........the epicentre is found to be in Sikkim......people are all ouside here in deaths has been report till now...but  structural damages has been reported,our reporter  Tandin Phuntsho reports" followed by video of people all outside the house. Earthquake shake was recorded nicely on the live camera, when the dungtsho layreem was going on. Dungtsho was in the state of  the answering the questions that the interviewer was asking related to health that suddenly he stopped answering when he realized the shake,when the shake became severe the dungtsho jumped off from the sit along with the interviewer and finally the stage was empty leaving the camera with only table and chairs. The evidence of earthquake was shown by the vibrating stage recorded due to the vibrating camera. It was a disaster.
It was 12:00 midnight and we were still awake.

 Tomorrow i was to leave but i thought the journey would be cancelled thinking the damages the earthquake might have caused to the train tracks. Still then i was not sure, so to wake up early, i went into sleep with the fear  still inside me. After struggling for few minutes,i was finally into dreams....and i was never to forget that night ever in my life..the most deadly night of my life...!!

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