The morning of 26th December, 2004 began as usual for a few of us….. only a few..the very few who get up before 7 on Sundays…. For most other people, it was going to be a very different way to begin their Sundays…..
I don’t remember the time when I got uo exactly.. but, newaz.. I was ready at 6.45am to leave for my Mathematics tuition that was to start at 7….it was during the time, I was making my first attempts to cover my head… I had wrapped the dupatta of my white and sky blue salwar kameez round my head… and I vividly remember my mother scolding me… telling me how odd it looks…and how young girls shudn be so bothered bout head-coverings… dressing decently wud be enuf, she said…. i was upset, but chose to listen to mummy, and removed the dupatta, and wore it the normal way….
I then left for the tuition with my father….
R.P.Bharadwaj Sir’s house, Mansarovar colony
We were 15-20 students (same batch, same school) sitting on stools trying to solve our Maths problems… when suddenly others look at each other.. and sir says, “you felt that?” (I hadn’t…..)… the others start laughing….
Earthquakes are the commonest things that can happen to our place…Alhamdulillah, we have survived earthquakes that are stronger than the ones which can destroy whole cities… (probably coz’ of the lack of high rise buildings here!!)…and earthquakes hardly do cause any trouble… they just find a small mention in the right hand bottom corner of the 2-page daily newspapers of the Islands…. ‘India’ (meaning mainland India) doesn’t really bother with the news from these far-away Islands…
So, everyone laughed (me too) with an oh-once-again look on their faces… Little did we know that it’d turn out to be something that we’d never want again….
I remember… even as i was laughing… my eyes started to lose focus….. and I noticed …
No one was laughing anymore…………. Sir told…… “Niklo.. jaldi….” (meaning- “get out, fast”).. all this within 1 minute….. let’s say 1 and a half minutes… twas around 7.30am.
Towards the road
We knew it was a strong jolt…. I still don’t know how I managed to wear my sandals (many cudnt)…but, what we didn’t know was that it wud get stronger….
Sir’s apartment was on the second floor… and trust me running down those stairs with absolutely no eye focus… I felt I was climbing down a 100 storey building…
By ‘ no eye-focus’ , I mean that our eyes couldn’t focus on anything… just hold a book or something in your hands and shake it violently in front of your eyes… and then also try to shake your head as violently… how well can your eyes focus on the book???? Well, it was worse than this….
I kept my eyes down (don’t know why) so I couldn see the buildings and trees swaying as you’d hear from EVERYONE. I just saw…. Nothin except a ground that just didn’t stay in place…. Believe me .. it isn’t easy to run down a stairway that’s moving beneath your feet (or however you want to put it!) and that too, when you are running for dear dear life!!!!!
The next run was from the main door to the road… it was a slope actually and there was construction work goin on.. so there were these heaps of sand and stone chips… from the corner off my eye I cud see, these heaps break one by one (starting from the top towards the bottom of the slope) take a plate and put some flour on it making a heap.. and then slowly, very slowly, tilt the plate.. you’ll understand what I’m talking bout…
Soon there were , you can say, rivers of sand and stone chips ‘flowing’ on the two sides of the way thru which we were running…. And how can I forget .. the falling bikes and sliding cars….. all moving down the slope ever so passively….
I can only tell bout the ground.. I didn’t look up even once uptil then…
On the road
Till then I was trying to get the hang of what’s happening….but once I was on the road, I knew it.. I just knew….. it was Qayamat… the world was ENDING… and so I started chanting (can say, shouting) ‘La ilaha illallah Muhammadur rasulAllah’ and I was thinking of all sorta things like ‘I hope mummy abbu are reading the Thayyab…’, ‘the world’s ending but what happened to Jesus????’, ‘Jesus came and went and people didn’t even come to know’, ‘and Mahdi?” , ‘but it was supposed to be a Friday and the sun is also very much in place!!!’……and I’m sure you got it!.... now, when I think of it, it’s kind of funny…. Coz’ most of the other girls were crying out “MUMMMMMYYYYY” and the boys were trying to look for a place (with their oh-so–out-of-focus eyes) where there were no trees (trees cud get uprooted and fall on us…. There were HUGE trees on one side), no buildings (they too cud fall on us.. the other side of the road had five storey ke buildings), and no electric cables( supply cud b on and we mite get electrocuted if the elec poles fell on us….. there was a pole very close to where we were standing )….so, we were all set to die….after all it was Qayamat……. I looked straight ahead once.. just once and saw a BIIIIG tree, I lukd down again……actually I missed my chance to see swaying buildings…. I don the real duration.. but ithink twas 4-5 minutes…………….. then it stopped…. After alllllllllllllllll this, people started coming out of their houses…. You see … we loved our lives most :) :) :) .. we were the first to run….. prolly coz it was a Sunday… most of the people were woken up from their sleep by shaking beds… you cud make them out by their messed up hair… many men were in towels…. The only really dressed people were the tuition waale students (there’s also a Bio and a Chems tuition centre nearby)……all the Uncles were telling the same thing “Bohot zor ka tha bhaiya…. Hum log ka time mein pehla baari” ( twas really strong. The first to be so in our times) Saheba’s papa was the first to arrive… next came my father…. I wished Sir, and left…
Back at home
My house is one house away from the Jama Masjid…. I saw that the minarets were broken….. when I reached home, mummy was at the door and we hugged…….
When I started to remove my sandals while entering (we don’t wear shoes inside the house), mummy told to keep them on…. I understud the reason as soon as I stepped in…… there were glass pieces all over the floor……. You see….. things from the shelves and tables and all such high places had fallen to the floor….. Ours is an ancient wooden house…. So it got all the more dirty… all the dust from in between two wooden blocks were now on our floor….. how many show-pieces broke, I don’t remember… but there was this really nice matka… earthen pot…. In which we kept water… coz earthen pots are really cool…. And it’s a natural cooling method…..this pot was there in our house from ever….. it shattered to pieces…. :( :(
Btw.. I forgot to mention… on the way back we cud see some spots on the road were wet.. as if it had rained only in those places…. Can u guess what it was????? You know those Sintex tanks that we keep on the terraces…. The water spilled out and fell on the road…. Not really Qayamat…..but was it just a break in Qayamat???
Here comes the SEA
Now, all of a sudden, we see people rushing down the road….. started slowly but soon there was kind of a jam…. Wat was wrong????? We went out and found from others.. that they were going to see the sea….. something was terribly wrong.. “The Sea Was Boiling!!!!”…. oh!!!! So, it WAS Qayamat, after all….. we were sinking…. :( :(
Mummy and I were amazed at how people can rush to see something so horrific …… … Drowning in water wasn’t that gr8 an idea!!!! We actually live atop a hill….and so… we cudn see the shore from our place.. we need to walk around five minute to see the sea and another five minutes to reach the shore….. abbu went out… but Mummy and I refsed to leave home…. If we were to die, we’d die at home.. not making a tamasha (not getting the English word for it) out of death…..
In no time we see people from all coastal areas (remember we live on an Island??????? Sooooooooo….. coastal areas.. mean .. like… 3/4th!!!!! Ok?) rushing to the ‘raised places’ like our own hill…. Then, the secretariat and Court wala area (wat’s the name of that road????)etc….
An hour or two down.. the sea had retreated………. (no,it wasn’t Qayamat)…. All were telling how it had reached till the Stadium…. And we got news that it had even entered the Junglighat colony and there was water filling up many roads…….. there was no current….. we all were telling ki ha…. Such a terrible thing has happened here .. but, “Mainland India” wudn bother…..she wudn bother at all….. we had no idea that what we had gone thru an hour or two ago was something so vast that not just India, but the world wud bother………….. till then……… there was no news from Nicobar, or Tamil Nadu or the Neighbours (Thailand, Burma, Indonesia etc.. … my state “Andaman & Nicobar Islands” is closer to these countries than to “Mainland India”)……..we had no idea of the damage………and no idea that this was just the beginning of a long mental trauma (for us it was only a mental trauma, Alhamdulillah!.... but there were people, not far away, but in our own state……on the unluckier side of the Islands…. Who have lost EVERYTHING…………)
Yesterday marked the 4th anniversary of the fateful Tsunami that hit the shores of The Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal……………… reaching upto the Eastern coast of Africa …….. the Earthquake that triggered this tsunami had its epicenter in Indonesia, only minutes away from the southernmost point of my state….. it measured 9.1 on the Richter scale (some say 9.3)………….
We were soon to add a new word to our vocabulary “TSUNAMI”……..which is a Japanese word meaning “harbour-wave”…….
A ROUGH DEATH TOLL RELEASED INITIALLY...THE DEATH TOLL INCREASED LATER
OUR SEA AND THE NEIGHBOUR COUNTRIES
THE MOVEMENT OF ONE TECTONIC PLATE INTO THE OTHER WAS THE CAUSE BEHIND THE MASSIVE EARTHQUAKE
THE INDIAN PLATE
THE DARK PINK SHOWS A&N ISLANDS
THIS PIC SHOWS THE TIME IT TOOK FOR THE TSUNAMI TO HIT THE VARIOUS PLACES.... THE SMALL DOTS IN THE FIRST RING IS MY STATE A&N ISLANDS... IT SHOWS 0.5 HOURS.... WITHIN MINUTES TSUNAMI HAD HIT BOTH THE ANDAMAN AND NICOBAR GROUPS....
also see the following links
Tsunami- Primitive Tribes
More to come……
This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.