Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I did it again!

This afternoon I was jolted out of my blogaholic stupor by the telephone. It was Moppet's Papa, asking breathlessly if we were okay.

"Yeah, why?"
"There was an earthquake!"
"Where?" (yes, I am that slow)
"Here, of course! Our building has been evacuated! How could you not have felt it?"

I don't know why he was surprised. My record with earthquakes has been less than stellar.

During the Latur quake in September 1993, some mild tremors were felt in Hyderabad where we lived at that time. Pots and pans rattled on the kitchen shelves, doors slammed, and my aunt made a hysterical midnight phone call to my parents. I slumbered peacefully through all the excitement, and suffered the intense mortification that only a 14-year old can experience when I found out the next morning that I was the only one in my class who hadn't felt a thing.

And then there was the massive earthquake in Bhuj in January 2001. Even I couldn't sleep through that one, although I assure you, I tried!

At that time, Moppet's Papa and I were second year students at a B-school in Ahmedabad. Our annual cultural fest was on and we had returned from a concert at 4 am that morning and crashed in his dorm room. I also have a vague memory that alcohol - lots of it - had been consumed.

So you will understand why, when at 8.45 in the morning, I was vigorously shaken awake and opened my eyes to see the cupboard doing a happy jig, I just closed my eyes and turned over to go back to sleep. But then tiny bits of brick started landing on me, and I sat up and glared at Moppet's Papa. Was that any way to wake up your girlfriend?

He was already up, apparently mesmerised by the dancing cupboard. It took another 5 seconds for us to register what was happening and scoot out of the dorm even as more pieces of brick landed on our heads.

I was fully awake now, and any alcoholic fog that might have remained quickly dissipated at the sight of one of our classmates, clad only in a hopelessly tiny towel, streaking towards the open grounds.

At the time, the entire thing was little more than an exciting episode in our lives. Although the campus itself was a bit of a disaster zone - brick walls had collapsed here and there - everyone on campus had been accounted for and there were only some minor injuries.

We didn't realise until later that day what devastating damage the earthquake had caused all over the city and in Kutch. That was when it stopped being a fun adventure and the magnitude of the tragedy sunk in. That was when it turned scary. For days after that, as the aftershocks continued to hit, the slightest rumbling - whether real or imagined - would get me dashing frantically out of the front door.

Looks like that heightened sensitivity was only temporary though, because here I am again, the only person in Bangkok who didn't feel a thing.

No wait - not the only person.
Moppet didn't feel a thing either! :-)

20 comments:

Tharini said...

Oh my gosh! So many encounters with earthquakes!!?! wow....you are giving the term 'thick-skinned' a whole new meaning!!!

The Mad Momma said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Mad Momma said...

and the guy who streaked in a towel had got locked out of his room.... isnt it? small world man...

Poppins said...

Wow and I hope there weren't any calamities. What, are you some kind of earthquake-person or what :-) Seriously though, what happened in Gujarat must have been horrific.. Take care girl !

Moppet's Mom said...

Tharini: I know! I bet you don't want me moving into your neighbourhood!

MM: Ah so you've heard the story already! Small world indeed!:-)

Poppins: Nope, as far as I can tell from the news so far, thank goodness!

SM said...

OMG!! A live earthquake magnet!! Somebody inform...whoever needs to be informed!!
But seriously...latur must have been traumatic!

noon said...

My god - so many encounters! Amazing!
You will have many stories for your grand children! :)

Sunita said...

Like mom ..like daughter :)

I haven't experienced a severe earthquake close but I too have slept thru the latur quake inspite of stuff falling off from top shelves. And also, I was comfortably eating dinner through an earth quake in california thinking it must be the guys upstairs :)..DUH..yes!!! so you have company.

karmickids said...

Gosh, great that you guys came through it alright...someday I will write about my Mumbai floods 26/7 story...I guess we should all do one big survival story that we have been through that would be fun...

Orchid said...

Boy!! will you let me know when you are in my corner of the world :).....fun earthquake stories though, I bet you don't hear many of these!

Just a grail said...

Don't feel bad, when I am all absorbed in something, I am pretty much oblivious to everything around me too! Glad you are OK!

Moppet's Mom said...

SM: Nooo, please don't report me! I'm attending SAGA meetings (Seismic Activity Generators Annonymous)

Orchid, Noon: Oh, and this is only a quarter of the story! There's actually more! :-)

Sunita: Soul sister!

Kiran: Oh yes, do. That will be interesting! And um...I have a 26/7 story too - am I a walking natural disaster or what? :-)

Grail: It's good to know I'm not alone, thanks!

Malavika said...

Wait a minute.. I was there too, how come I have NO memory of the towel-streaker incident?? :-)
Mala

SM said...

SAGA!!!!!!!
ROTFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!

Moppet's Mom said...

Mala: Really?! I have been scarred for life by that sight! Of course, only a few (un)lucky folks from the nearby dorms actually got to witness it, but it was the talk of the campus for DAYS! Ask K about it, I'm sure he'll remember - and tell you who it was :-)

Aqua said...

i've slept through quite a few earthquakes too. and i have my own hall of shame story. there was a mild earthquake in blore when i was a pg student. i happened to be making a presentation for some project and suddenly we felt the tremor and i dashed out of the classroom like a speeding bullet mid ppt, and ran towards the OAT. when i reached said place above, huffing and puffing, i looked back to see i was the only one there. i returned red faced to the classroom full of ppl rolling in aisles with laughter. even the prof was laughing. so there! i said it. now the world knows that i'm as brave as a mouse :) (PETA ...pls forgive me!)

Moppet's Mom said...

Hi Aqua - welcome here. And LOL, your story is great! Makes me feel a bit better about mine! :-)

Sue said...

Do you remember the Caltex explosion in Vizag in 1997? We lived right next door, maybe half a km away. I woke up, saw the bed was shuddering, decided that I was having a nightmare and went right back to sleep. I even vaguely rejected the thought of calling my mother because that would've been childish!

My first time here, so hello. :)

Moppet's Mom said...

Hi Sue, that's some story! I'm sure I would've gone back to sleep as well, if it hadn't been for all the damn debris falling on my head! :)

Just like that said...

Wow! 3 earthquakes!! that's a record. Am glad you've survived unharmed thru them all.

Laffed my heart out at the Bhuj story inspite of feeling sorry for all those people who lost so many things in the quake...

SAGA- Lol!where do you get it from, Moppet's Mom?

Have felt a M-I-N-O-R one in Cochin when the bed moved( and no- we were not doing anything to make it move!)