Surviving the Sikkim Earthquake

I have not brushed my teeth for three days, but why would i when i am in the middle of an earthquake? The journey from Darjeeling took an un-expected turn. Not so un-expected if you have read previous posts. The jeep started shaking but on reflection it was not the jeep but the earth, the cliffs, the Himalaya. Everyone was on the streets. Indian women in their night wear, masses of rock falling from above onto the roads, onto cars, onto people from the soaring mountains above our heads. Jeeps stopping and piling up.Nothing going anywhere fast apart from the bottle of rum down our throats. Darkness,  headlights, people everywhere. Landslides, panic, fear; all perched on a thin piece of mountain road between falling boulders and a massive drop into the river to our right. The air was full of collective fear and uncertainty. Wether tourist or indian we were in the same position. We painted our nails and sang as a distraction from dread.

Standing on the road we could do nothing but stand.We were taken in by a family to what i think was the good room; full of plastic floral arrangements and soft toys. 6.9 on Richter Scale. We were given a mattress, tea and ginger snaps. I stuck to rum. All i thought was if we were going to die at least we would die together. I tried to call my parents and my best friends but the network was down.As the rooster called and the light came in i looked around, saw us all lying there and was so grateful that my eyes were open. It’s all still so raw and i cry as i type.

We took the risky drive to Gangtok. Rather civilised for an Indian city, but it was hard to see the beauty amongst the panic. We just sat tight ( with more rum ) whilst the rest of the city were on the street. A taxi back down the same road, heading towards Darjeeling could not have been more different from heading north two days earlier. The way up was beautiful. Mountains and sweeping valleys. Perfectly placed clouds. The return was landslides, the army, the road deconstructing around us. For me this was more scary than the previous night when the quake stuck and we rode the tremors. Cars falling from the road into the river below, sections of road being cleared before we pass and the threat of a landslide at any minute. My heart was in my mouth continuously for six hours. We made it to flat ground and i prayed to god with thanks. My heart breaks for the people who did not make it.

19 comments

  1. earthdrifter

    Wholy Phuck PINKY! When I clicked on your post this was the last thing I’d expected to read. Call me ignorant but I’ve been a news resister for at least the last week, selfishly caught up in my own gig. I didn’t even hear about the quake in W. Bengal was it? 6.9 OMFG! Cars dropping, people dieing. Man! Glad ya made it. Hang in there…

    Not to change the subject but you’ve made some serious ground from Mumbai, my goodness…

  2. Shelly

    My prayers are with you and for all those who lost their lives and their families. It is all so surreal to us back in the UK, that part of the same world we all live and walk upon is going through such devastation. Keep Safe you two xxx

  3. 300hikes

    My God, what a horrible thing to have to experience. It’s one thing to read about an event in the news, but there’s something unbelievably unsettling about hearing it from this perspective. I’m glad you’re alive and well.

  4. Carol

    I’m so glad you’re both alright. I thought of you tonight – I went to a meditation class and buddhist teaching. It was very inspiring ( I couldn’t fully concentrate on the meditation because of an ill timed Polo) but the teaching was great. Yvonne was asking about you today so I’ll pass on the blog address to her tomorrow xxxx

Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s