With its tall mountain peaks, and colorful, undulating terraced landscape, Nepal is without a doubt a beautiful and picturesque country. God has been bountiful in providing us with natural beauty, but in April and May of this year, She showed her wrathful side quite mercilessly to the innocent people of the mountains. In many towns, the poorly built mud brick homes simply crumbled and perished in a matter of minutes. God was not even merciful with her own abodes since the temples and heritage sites, too, became rubble in those tragic and fateful minutes.
I visited homes and towns and witnessed the impact of the quake, which was more intense and surreal than my words can convey. Tears can ease the pain, but the trauma behind the tears is everlasting.
During this natural calamity, I saw mothers who cried, “Where are my children?” and who rushed instantly and insanely to go and find their offspring. I witnessed firsthand that the purest relationship in any organism is the bond between a mother and her child.
I remember the blank stare of a mother with an infant clinging to her breast. Someone once said, “There is silence, eerie silence, the silence that covers the beating, pulsating, throbbing pain in the heart. When there is so much to say and share, not a word comes out. Silence mimics first of all the pain, the suffering, the stories told, and untold…the emotions rising slowly, falling, roaring like a tide. The silence is a gentle wave of pain or a tsunami of torrential pangs. When emotions take over, they pervade, words don’t come out.”
As an engineer, I like to be able to measure things. But I do know my limitations. I can’t measure tragedy and its impact on the human soul and psyche. But I also know that homelessness, helplessness, and the lack of basic necessities can make life extremely punishing.
Like Martin Luther King, I too have a dream and a hope for a better tomorrow. I dream that the well-educated and privileged folks of my country will finally do something real, concrete, and tangible to wipe the tears from the faces of the unfortunate people of Nepal.
Arun Dahal was born and educated in Nepal – as well as in India and the USA — in the areas of engineering, law, and management. He has spent over three decades in technology development and management with American and global companies. He currently teaches management courses for engineering and law students at Kathmandu University.