I had just finished my breakfast and was resting till the food digested. I wanted to eat more. Then I heard the blower grumbling. I was thinking that we over-used it; it had been working for days and days, thanks to the continuous rain. I was trying my best to ignore it, when not only the blower, but the whole ground started to shake from beneath. I was still thinking that the blower effect was so strong to move the ground! It was in a fraction of time that Tasleem shouted “Bhukam” (earthquake) and raced out of the house dragging everyone including me, who was busy looking for my mobile hidden somewhere among all those blankets. Of course I couldn’t lose my phone.
We all ran out of the house into the garden, into the rain. Ammi prayed to God, mumbling ‘Bismillah”s and other phrases. I was still trying to locate my slippers before I stepped out into the muddy garden. Heard Papa say “oh this stupid girl, what am I to do with her!” I could feel that I am losing my body balance the moment I stepped outside. Not to mention our house was surrounded by a ring of gigantic mountains, that at the event of an earthquake, we would have no escape at all. I was trying to stand straight but I could not figure out what was moving me sideways.
The house was being tilted without any force, and for a split second I thought I saw my death in front of me. All my life I have walked in to danger and risk, and never had I felt that I might die or not return home. But today was different. Maybe because it was natural and we do not have control over it. The mountain range groaned, and my ears got locked at the very moment. I had no clue of the actions to take in an earthquake situation. I would have probably been sitting inside the blanket if not for Tasleem. We were standing in an open area, and it was all the same for about 5 minutes. Then, just like a river calming down after the rain, the gliding smoothed, and things started looking straight again.
I was still not ready to go inside. We all waited for another 10 minutes until we moved into the house again. The TV was still on surprisingly, with breaking news posts all over the channels. Turns out the earthquake was born in Afghanistan but had hit Pakistan and North India very badly. I called my brother in Lahore to check on him, but of course the mobiles were all out of service. Later, as it turns out, he was fast asleep with no clue of the earthquake. He had only seen people dead and buildings collapsed after he woke up.
I’m not going to further explain how Tasleem started giving his lecture about how earthquakes happen, and the layers of the earth and so on. I didn’t even tell my mother of how bad it was. She would have made quite a scene out of it. She would have told me why I have to go to Kashmir when it is raining (Though it was all sunny when I started the journey). I was only thankful of the fact that I was alive, and I could go home in one piece. Later on I realized it too was an adventure, and sometimes an adventure “could” take you to the verge of death.
This blog was originally published on 'The Curious Pen'