Has been a really long time since I last scribbled something on the net. Started my blog-page with a lot of enthusiasm. This I guess will be the case for most of the first time bloggers. However then got busy with the 'busy'ness of life and lost touch of things somewhere midway.
A few days in the past something happened which actually made me consider making a memento out of those handful of moments and post it somewhere, where I could share it with a larger clan – a much larger tribe that shares most of the elements that comprise me and is a part of the same rat race that I too run and survive.
Life has weird and wonderful rules. It gives us a lot to choose from. It lets us choose those zillion ticks of time when we so comfortably immune ourselves from all the deep delving on the true verve that constitutes living. We concrete mortals, then, engage ourselves in the more mundane and daily and, yes definitely, the arguably more obligatory. And then suddenly comes that one moment, when life just happens to us devoid of any choice. And worst of all that moment is so enviably powered to break and undo all rules and possessions that we otherwise so vehemently safeguard.
A habitual late to bed person, I had just crept into my bed. It was more than two months since I had been in Jakarta with my husband and yet all of it seemed just like yesterday, time seemed to have just flown by. This again I presume is the case with most newly married couples. I lay down staring at the clock, engrossed in yet one more of those umpteen soliloquies on life. The minute hand of the night clock seemed to lazily crawl to keep pace with its ‘second’ counterpart. It must have been something close to 10 minutes past midnight when I felt the bed trembling. Given the uncommonness of the shivers I woke my husband up, who tired from the day’s occupation was already snoring. Both of us got down onto the floor. Initially dazed, then thoughtful, then anxious and then alarmed he shouted, “ It’s an earthquake “. Panicky with the realization, that we were witnessing an earthquake of quite a magnitude at the 32nd floor of our 39 storeys Service Apartment complex, we moved fast. Our reflex action – grabbed our passports that lay on the table and hand in hand hurried towards the lift. While he kept pressing the lift buttons I watched on helplessly as the floor beneath me shook. Along with us were two others from the house next to ours who were equally disconcerted. The lift arrived and there was barely room for four. We took the lift down. That day it stopped at almost every floor, as there are 3 lifts for roughly 160 apartments in the complex. One could witness desperation on the faces of people who waited for the lift at the floors below when they saw a fully occupied lift and then ran in panicky towards the stairway. All kinds of what ifs visited my psyche in those fifty seconds – yes FIFTY SECONDS, it no longer seemed to me as ‘less than a minute’. I kept wondering ‘What if the cable of the lift snapped’ and yet we could not risk running down 30 floors. I hoped and prayed that the quake stopped before the building succumbed. I could well hear the sound of cracking concrete and the shouts and screams of people running down. I could imagine the pregnant and the elderly and the helplessness that would now be surrounding them. But overwhelmed and stunned faces in that 3by3ft lift was all of the earth that I could now see and that I now shared. I held my husband close – to be as tightly clung to him as possible was all I wanted now, whatever be the outcome, in that instance of time that was ALL that I wanted. The lift was shaking and then suddenly the tremors stopped. By the time we were down at the lobby the quake had closed. Honestly it felt like rebirth - actually it felt much more than anything I could conceive under normal circumstances.
Now I could see all residents down on the streets, all in their bare minimums. The street in front was today more busy with noises than people. Amidst hurried walks people were informing their families back home of the escape, thanks to mobile telephony. Everyone was a bit shaken and feared a quick return to their residence in dread of an aftershock. All stood there discussing and waiting. Soon enough we had people discussing how safe each ones exit strategy had been, who had been the smartest and who was the dumbest of all. People started asking each other for cigarettes. Some had even managed to run down with their beer bottles and were benevolent enough to share a gulp or two with others. Gradually normalcy crept back.
Slowly, in about two hours or so, as the tension receded and smiles started finding room on the faces again, people started walking back. We too hand in hand started walking back home smiling and sharing amid us an undeclared happiness. The place that had threatened sedating our life itself was now again home for us.
And all along that return route all that I kept thinking was - how little we need when the dire beckons and how much we want when it does not. When death comes it bangs without an appointment or a schedule. You never know what lies for you round the next cross. So when walking the streets of life please smile – you never know how long it is destined to last.
With that I remain.
Till my next post happy aspirations and happy walking :)
PS: The report of the quake on CNN can be found at the link