I had finished my bath ( yes! I do bath and that too early in the morning on Sunday) and just had my veshti ( dhoti) on. I felt a mild dizziness and I thought "Man! I have had some crap last night that screwing my stomach up!" then I realized that I did not eat out last night! So I thought " maybe I did not eat anything last night" . Then I realized I had food last night! Unknowingly I held the cupboard to balance myself. My dad was shouting behind me as to why I left the wardrobe door open! When I was think "whaat I didn't"... when my mom entered the room shouting the "the building is SHAKING" . I was confused. I now had to shift perspectives from having an intestine problem to building shaking. My mom led me to the kitchen and showed me Juraasic Park style the water jug shaking. The water inside the jug was jumping like ocean tide. My vision was getting blurred ( well.. that happens often :-) ). the cupboards were open. EARTHQUAKE
I saw my neighbors shyly peeping outside to check if everybody else were facing the same situation ( most of them thought they were sick). I could only process so much information that we had to rush downstairs (we were in the fifth floor). But I had the horse sense to take the stairs and not the elevator. So there we ran downstairs shouting to all the people to come down and also not take the elevator. By the time we had assembled down there were already some people on the road.
So there you go! I experienced an earthquake. I am an earthquake survivor. I am a star! Hearing about earthquake experences from Chennai residents four years before and my relatives in Gujarat. I was thinking man! I haven't experienced anything significant! :-).
After rushing down! I realized that I had nothing on me except a towel sort of thing around me. Then I looked around the excited west mambalam residents and was sort of releived that most of them were semi-naked.
Now this is Madras and that too West Mamabalam you send some of the residents on the road to do nothing but talk what will they do? They spoke for 10 minutes regarding their experiences " ooh! I thought the chair was moving on its own". " Oooh! I thought the tumblers were rolling on its own". We are still constructing our own house still and the house ownership was in transitionary state. My dad was worried about house insurance and natural calamity insurance (these are all virtually non-existent in India. if you lose your house all you get it a share of relief money after attrition over several bribes to government officials). In spite of all such concerns you wouldn't believe what all the people did.
After 10 minutes of eartquake talk! everybody immediately switched to the Sankaracharya arrest topic. Oh! my God! Seriously Man! There ought to be a law in Madras that nobody should be gossiping about Sankaracharyar anymore. Its been beaten to death. And I was so excited on getting this star status, that I couldn't believe the moment was being shattered. I pleaded to everybody "please switch back to the earthquake topic". No! fat chance! Sankaracharyar's arrest was far far more important thing for these dudes when the earth was shaking underneath you.
But I was not willing to let go of this new found star status. I tried calling all my relatives to discuss this event and their experiences. But I forgot something fundametal, this was marghazhi thingal ( the tamil month of margazhi). Nobody were at their homes. they had eloped to the temple at 4:00 AM. I realized then that if I had to bath at 6:00 AM then my relatives should at least be light years ahead of me.
Well there you go! I experienced an earthquake and there is nobody I could talk to. It was good opportunity for some excitement but sankaracharya, religion, regional, caste , sub-catse politics seemed to dominate my neighbor's discussion. People were excitedly talking about karma and the rage of the sea. They paused for a moment's silence when my dad gave his own atheist comments before resuming their argument's on sankaracharyas arrest and the role of DMK. So I went to the temple to discuss this and nobody inside were aware of the earthquake. None of my relatives, friends inside the temple had experienced it. Damp Squib!
When I came back from the temple, there was another round of mild tremors. My dad by then had settled down in the bedroom with the morning newspaper ( reading of Junior Sankaracharyar being called up for police interrogation ). My mom started the usual excitement routine ( complaining of dizziness ..water jug etc) and some of the neighbors started running down. But my dad had by then lost respect for the earthquake. He preferred the newspaper to running down. Most of the people in my building seemed to take an attitude of "aah! it will stop after some time".
I give up! There used to be a time when tremors caused concern. Even 4 years before when the quake came people had to rush out. They could not contain themselves to stay outside for even 10 minutes. The T.V mega series soap opera "chitti" was going on! They rushed back in even when the ritcher scale was greater than zero.
Seriously! Earthquake survivor( well I am still alive. although if you don't see any blogs from me in the future.. you know what happened) status means little in Madras. People always have better things to do when there is an earthquake.
T.V is showing that water has come into the roads from the beach. I still feel some shaking going on and mild dizziness but! what the heck! nobody cares. There is the corruption controversy regarding the veeranam Tamil Nadu water project going on in the news. Thats more important! Sigh...