Friday, January 26, 2001

When the Sub-continent Rocked

Today morning, a little after 9, as were getting ready to leave for work, we felt the tremors. Sandip was having a bath and couldn't make it out - but, the rest of us in the house at once knew it was an earth-quake. The window-panes were rattling and the Tibetan Lamp in the ground-floor hall-way was swaying vigorously. In Kats, we live in perpetual fear of the grand "shake-up". Apparently, the city lies right on the Central Asia fault line and geolists have been predicting a major quake anytime, when it would be reduced to rubbles due to totally unsuitable construction. Western Embassies keep issuing warnings to its citizens to be prepared and we keep hearing stories of how some of the affluent locals go to sleep with their jewellery, monies, food-packets and water bottles as a precaution for any eventuality. But, little did we realise that the severity of the quake in parts of India - especially Gujrat - was much more serious. Over 500 people have been reported dead - but the toll could go up much higher as the full extent of damage comes to be known. Although, the intensity of the tremor was only 6.9 ( measured at a point higher by seismologists in China and France ) the devastation could be disproportionate due to the poor, non-earthquake proof constructions in this part of the world.