Pujan Shrestha: “I heard someone screaming Bhuichaalo aaaayooo!!!”

Temple Brick Work

Temple Brick Work

On my way home, I started hearing unusual sounds and I felt as if I was walking drunk. Then I realized that the ground was trembling and that it was an earthquake; one that was bigger than ever before and which took a long time to stop. I was near my home, and could see my house swinging right and left. My mother rushed outside as did everyone else in the neighborhood. Since I was in a safe place, I was not scared at all. Instead, I was observing the whole situation with a lot of curiosity. After a few hours, the sad news started to come in of casualties and the destruction of homes and cultural heritage sites and more.

Then on Baisakh 29, (May 12, 2015) I was sleeping when I heard someone screaming “Bhuichaalo aaaayooo!!!” My brother and I woke up in confusion. He looked at me and I looked at him, and without knowing what was happening, we both rushed outside barefooted. With the fear that we might get crushed by the house, we ran so fast that we hardly knew we had already arrived outside. Every member of my family and my neighbors were safe this time as well.

After experiencing the earthquake and several aftershocks, I found I had changed in a number of ways. Firstly, I learnt several safety precautions to be applied during such disasters; don’t panic and proceed calmly and with caution. Secondly, I had an opportunity to experience how it feels to live in a tent in a field under the open sky, like those who are forced to live in ghettos or as refugees.

Thirdly, because of the aftershocks, I started developing a kind of mental discomfort. Whenever someone screams or if I feel a little tremor, my heart freezes for a moment and I feel weak. In addition, whenever I walk through a narrow passageway between tall houses, I start thinking “what if the ground started trembling and I were trapped there?” and I start searching for a safe place.

Finally, because of this disaster, I’ve had an opportunity to get to know about my neighbors, and I’ve established better relations with them.

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