Monday, September 19, 2011

A narrow escape!

I will never forget the harrowing experience of last evening. I narrowly escaped from the death’s jaw! Yes, I am talking about the 6.8 magnitude naka that hit Bhutan at 6:41 PM last evening.  

Let me report you my observation and my own experience from the place I stay. I live at Motithang in Thimphu, on the sixth floor of a yellow building. That moment, I was watching a BPL football match on TV in my bedroom. Tottenham’s Luka Modric scored a goal against Liverpool. I was celebrating the score with the team when my TV started shaking so hard. Novels from my shelf started falling down. My cosmetics started rolling here and there and things in the washroom hit the floor. It’s undeniably an earthquake, I reacted immediately.

Training had taught me to crawl under the table when you are hit by the earthquake, but I have only one living room centre table, that’s also glass one. I ran out of the apartment with my sister, barefoot and the door unlocked. Forget about the things in my apartment (which I bought with my last one year’s savings), forget about my parents and beloved ones, from the sixth floor of the building I ran for my life-downstairs, toward the ground. The building shook so thunderously that I felt that the building was running over the course of a rough road, in high speed. A riotous sound of unlikely colliding building was produced. Other tenants were crying, shouting for their kids and rushing downstairs. Some were crawling downstairs as the building shook heavily.

All of us were dumbstruck, nervous and lost.

Honestly speaking, I had only one thing in my mind, which is guaranteed undoubtedly. That before I reach the ground floor I would be smashed into the building’s crashes and become a dead log in a few seconds. I didn’t apprehend exactly how I reached the ground floor when the naka stopped after 12 seconds (approximately). It means within a dozen of seconds or even less I could run from the sixth to the ground floor. If I had this pace and stamina in the Olympic then I would have broken the record of the world’s fastest track runner, Usain Bolt.

Residents were considerably relieved after they could make on the ground. Every one in Motithang stayed outside, still hesitant to move in fearing aftershocks.

A rumour had it that again there’ll be “a more dangerous naka at 8:30 PM”. All the residents of Motithang waited outside till 9 PM expecting another shock. But rumour was always rumour, a false one. Another rumour had it that there’ll be a shock at 11 PM. Though raining intermittently, we stayed outside till midnight, some under the umbrella, car owners in their cars and other under the tree shades. Most of us never returned homes, we slept outside in our cars because yet another rumour said “there will be shake again”.
But what had disappointed me so bitterly last night was not that the naka shook us. As I watched the BBS TV for information, the lousy BBS proved it lousiest character yet again. Damn, instead of covering live news on the earthquake, it was telecasting LIVE Drungtsho programme. It carried no information on its footage other than the earthquake’s magnitude and its epicenter. And the host consoled the viewers, “Don’t panic!” But what we wanted that hour is not the moral consolation from a TV host but reliable sources speaking to us whether the rumours we had are true or not. We wanted our voices and concerns (like rumour) to be heard instantly through mass media. We wanted the RJs and TV journalists to visit the panicking public and reach our concerns to the concerned authorities right away, but until last night I knew how unconcerned and unprofessional they are.

Also, the home ministry and the department of disaster management showed their sheer ineffectiveness, unprofessionalism and unpreparedness in dealing with the natural disaster. In such incident they should have monitored arm forces in the crowded areas like Motithang, the town, Changjiji and Olakha to stop people from panicking and avoiding them from moving in until aftershocks are over. They should have used the radio stations, the TV and the mobile networks in disseminating the relevant information to the panicking general public immediately.


  1. same thoughts here sir. i could not get connected to my parents over the phone, so put on the BBS live streaming to at least know the degree of damages in the capital. ohh i was so amazed to see the live drungtsho programme. Anyway it got me thinking may be the eartquake wasnt a big one but friends on facebook told it was a strong one. glad that all is well for now :)
    thats a frightening experience, thanks for sharing

  2. A nice post. Sad to know that for it was really a major earthquake. I have had the terrible experience of being in such a situation back in 2009 when that earthquake created a considerable damage and havoc in the east. Good to know that there hasn't been any major damage. Thanks for sharing your experience. Take care. Prayers from India to all the people of Bhutan.

  3. I was in utter shock to hear about the Earthquake in Bhutan. Thanks to facebook that is keeping us updated if not we wouldn't know any of the mishaps that is out of our reach. Even I couldn't contact my families and friends at home. The shock didn't leave us being away from home. We have been depending on facebook friends to keep us updated. But now that everyone is safe and seeing the sunshine again, we hope such disaster never happen again, EVER!!!

  4. sir i can well imagine that situation u had face... last thing to celebrate is that we are still breathing...:)beautifully describe...