Seven lessons from Nepal Earthquake


May 5th, 2015

‘Life is unpredictable’ is a cliché more than a statement. But that cliché has become the most relevant statement in our lives. The recent earthquake that shook Nepal was definitely the worst experience of my life. The moment that it happened and its aftermath both were equally scary and devastating. During the earthquake itself, I felt the ground trembling beneath and the roof shaking above me, I had mentally prepared myself that the roof will fall anytime right on my head. I had never been more scared my whole life, but the hours and days after the earthquake were more heart breaking. My city is broken, my whole nation is in pain, people are suffering, and if there is any feeling at the moment which is more overpowering than fear and pain is the feeling of helplessness; of hardly being able to do anything about it.

But like every problem and sorrow, this whole experience has taught me some valuable life lessons that otherwise I would have never realised. In a matter of days our lives are completely changed, and this has given me a different perspective on life. Here are the seven lessons that I learnt as Nepal earthquake survivor.

  • You get clear of what really is important in life

The first thing that you think about during such disaster is the safety of your family (if you are not together). This family may not just include immediate family but the people who are important to you. You realise that people are the most important ‘things’ in life – everything else can be gained back. Your bank balance cannot save your life when the roof comes crumbling down your head, but your neighbour possibly can (by helping you out of the rubble).

  • You learn to cope

When life puts a very difficult situation ahead of you, you learn to cope to survive. The first instinct in this situation is to cope for survival rather than mourn or be sad. The earthquake brought everyone on the same ground under the same open sky. The rich and the poor, the young and the old everyone was there sleeping outdoors under open sky, no one was possibly ready for such situation in life, but there was no option than to cope to the situation.

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  • Luxury isn’t important; love is

You just realise how little actually is required for survival. Living in tents for a few days with the very basic necessities like food, water, warm clothes, shed that was enough to keep us going. The luxuries were forgotten, but the bond between families, neighbours and friends got stronger. I saw people sharing whatever they had and looking out for each other. It was love that gave us strength and kept us going. I felt like meeting and catching up with everyone and hugging everyone tighter !

  • You value life more

Everyone who was okay was feeling grateful just to be alive. Even those who lost their homes express gratefulness on being unharmed. People express how lucky they are to be alive rather than saying how unlucky they are that their house got damaged. I feel grateful for this life and have realised the value of small things like enough food to feed ourselves and a roof above our heads.

  • You rise above the sorrows

In a situation like this, we were all victims. The aftershocks were scaring us all and our families wanted us to stay with them all the time. But, I saw that people who were luckier did not stay put, they stepped out to help the ones less fortunate. We could not sleep and eat properly thinking about the people who lost their homes and loved ones, who needed immediate help. Many people helped others, putting their own lives at risk, everyone stepped up in any way possible. It humbles me to see how everyone is so compassionate about other’s pain and willing to make themselves useful. I have never seen my country more united !

  • Life goes on

They say that there is only one thing constant about life, that ‘it goes on’. Slowly we are getting used to the aftershocks, to the rubbles, to the danger marks on buildings and even to the pain. Gradually, the shops, businesses, offices are opening. People have started picking up the broken pieces and getting back to their lives.

  • Hope is stronger than fear

This was certainly the most fearful situation faced by all of us. It is hard to live in a state of constant fear, to be scared of the walls on your side and the ceiling above your head. Suddenly, every structure looks like a threat. It breaks your heart to see your nation in pain, heritages broken, and people suffering. But one thing, that keeps us going is Hope. Hope that everything will be eventually alright. We cannot bring back the people who are gone, but we have to stay strong and build back the nation. And that hope gives us the strength to overcome the fear and step up to help each other out.

Nepal needs us more now than anytime.

 

 

(We will need your help to bounce back and to rebuild, please donate to https://practicalaction.org/helpnepal)

7 responses to “Seven lessons from Nepal Earthquake”

  1. Nagina Shrestha Says:

    I totally agree with every word that you have expressed. Its sad that we had to go through so much of pain and sorrow but as you have said life goes on and hope is better than fear, we all know everything will be normal at some point in time and we will tell our children how devastating the earthquake was in 2072 B.S., just like our grandparents tell us about tremors in 1990 B.S. The unity in Nepalese was always there it just needed some shaking and this time it really opened their eyes. The diversity in Nepal has united and diversity is the strongest pillar of unity. I hope this never gets affected and something really good emerges out of this deathly quake. I wish you all the best for your future endeavors.

  2. Binaya Parajuli Says:

    I echo your thoughts Swarnima, very well expressed!

  3. Bhuwan Adhikari Says:

    “Even those who lost their homes express gratefulness on being unharmed. People express how lucky they are to be alive rather than saying how unlucky they are that their house got damaged”- Really Heart touching!

  4. Dwariaka Says:

    Great realization. I will share it in my circle!

  5. Rupendra Kayastha Says:

    I totally agree with you Swarnima. Here are the lesson that I learnt as Nepal earthquake survivor

    Don’t Wait for Disaster to Strike. We would have benefited from better planning and practice.

  6. Bishal Bhattarai Says:

    yeah i m really appreciated with ur writing

  7. Bhanu Parajuli Says:

    Excellent. I entirely agreed upon your views and love your artistically articulation style 🙂

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