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