The Before and After of Tsunami

The usual afternoon it was. After a nice lunch, consisting of, maacher jhol bhaat, I stretched my legs on the bed and was watching TV. Out of habit, I took my cell phone in hand and first thing first, logged into my Twitter account via mobile. My Twitter account was flooded with tweets about Tsunami alerts announced in India. For a moment, I was taken aback. Tsunami? Why? Suddenly? Then scrolling down Twitter, I realised that it all began with an 8.9 measuring earthquake that hit Indonesia which had an impact on cities in India as well, including Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi, to name a few.

I was amazed. I was shocked more to see the name of the city, where I reside presently, in the name of tremor-felt zones. I wondered where the hell was I? In dreams? No, I was busy enjoying my meal with my husband on a hot and sultry afternoon at home. Discussing about everything, from office to car to traffic, but not once did we realise that amidst all those discussions, we missed out the tremors that were felt by most of the people in the city.

I switched to a news channel to get the latest update and was hoping there would not be anything untoward to see. Thankfully, to my relief there was nothing serious in the tremors that shook places in India. The visuals were full of people running out of their offices, houses to a safer and secure place; video grab of the things that shook due to the tremors; and last but not the least, the news anchors, reporters who did their very best to give the "BREAKING NEWS" about the latest updates on the earthquake and tsunami. As expected, I started getting calls from my family and friends, though I could hardly speak a word to them since all the connections were jammed. A while later, my husband was back home, as his entire office was evacuated after the tremors came.

There was a sudden fear that enveloped my mind. As the news channels flashed, Tsunami alert announced in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, I kept myself as positive as I could. However, there was a certain fear, that is hard to express. My mind went into a flashback, when I was at home in Delhi, and we watched as the 2004 tsunami ripped apart the state of Tamil Nadu and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. I wondered, will today be the same fate? The news channels, though hard to trust, kept my hopes alive as they reiterated that "nothing much could be speculated" about how strong the tsunami could be.

Hoping nothing serious would happen, I ventured out of the house to head towards my workplace. As I took an auto from the main road, and moved a little further down the road, long queues of cars, buses, two-wheelers welcomed me at the first traffic signal. Thinking it to be a usual traffic jam caused due to the failure of traffic signal, I did not pay much heed. However, things were not quite the way I had thought them to be. I learnt later that the traffic jam was caused due to the employees heading home from office, after the offices shut soon, on seeing the tsunami warning on TV.

I reached office just in time and earlier than my usual time as well. Soon, there was another tremor felt, now in the office premises, the entire office rushed out of the building. However, there were a few like us, who just sat inside the office thinking nothing happened. Well, after all the hullabaloo, soon there were reports of tsunami alerts being withdrawn by the agencies.

With the grace of almighty, nothing grievous happened. But what remained intact was the fear. I still shudder to think, had the tsunami been powerful enough what would have happened.

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