Happy Republic Day to all my fellow Indians.
I know this comes a little late in India but I wanted to share this small story/anecdote. When the world is still mourning the devastation in Haiti, my mind goes back to 2001Gujarat Earthquake that happened on this very day (Jan26th). Thousands lost their lives and the most tragic thing was the death of the school children who were then at school celebrating Republic Day.
After each earthquake we pray that Mother Earth will be more kind but I feel that we humans are also being very cruel to her when we try to show off in front of her by building huge skyscrapers and coming up with deadly inventions.
I pray that in future earth and humankind will be more considerate to each other and the world will turn out to be a better place for all of us to live.
The Last Day At School
Leela was all excited at the thought of going to school that day. It was the Republic Day. Leela was thrilled because she was the one who was leading the march-past that day. Though it was a holiday, children had to come to school. They had to participate in the march-past and sing the national anthem during the flag hoisting ceremony.
At eight thirty sharp Leela started walking towards her school. It took only twenty minutes for her to reach the school and she loved this daily walk across the farmlands and the mud-thatched houses. On her way, she loved to pet the farm animals of Chinnammu her neighbor and to pluck wild flowers that grew near the village pond.
But today, Leela felt something was wrong. When she came out of her house she heard an unusual cry from Chinnammu’s animals. When she went near the cows, Leela saw that they were restless and moaning as though in pain. Their eyes were focused on something far away and their ears were twitching. The goats also were bleating noisily. “What is wrong with them today?” thought Leela. When she tried to pet them they just moved away. But as she had to reach the school by nine, Leela just hurried away from her animal friends.
As she walked past the village pond, she noticed that the water was unusually still and murky. She again got that feeling, that something was amiss. But then her thoughts went back to the march-past and she hurried towards her school.
Leela reached the school in time. At nine a.m. the children all stood in a line and sang the national anthem. The flag was hoisted by the minister. The school band started to play and Leela positioned herself in front of the marching team.
It was then that she heard the rumble. At first it was a quiet, low sound. Then the whole ground started shaking. The children started screaming. Leela crashed to the ground and to her horror she saw the playground wall collapsing.
“It’s a massive earthquake,” someone screamed. The earth split open and buildings and trees fell. “Oh! God, so this is what it was all about.” Leela realized as she tried to scramble up, and then fell unconscious among the rubble.