A reminder yesterday evening that Kathmandu lies on an earthquake zone. At around 6.25 pm, a low rumble and the floor starts to move and the house rattle. I’m rehearsing at the home of Martin, our drummer, with other members of Pointless Fish. (Another time, but yes…we’re aiming to be playing live in Kathmandu in a couple of months). We’re upstairs playing and it takes a second or two to realise what is happening, before instinct kicks in and we make for the door and into the open. I have no idea whether this is the start of something ‘big’ or not, as I’ve never experienced anything like this before, but its a relief to be outside, even though the ground is still moving. The neighbours are outside too, and after another 20 or so seconds, the ground appears to have stopped moving. (Today’s Kathmandu Post says that the tremor lasted around a minute).
….but then what? When can we go back inside? What should we do next? Is it worse elsewhere in the city, or in the country? We manage a couple of phone calls before the network effectively gives up the ghost. Half an hour later we decide that this is it for now, and I get a ride back across town on the back of Willem (guitarist’s) motor bike. Its been raining, and Kathmandu is its usual chaotic self, with traffic jams and flooded roads. Its difficult not to look around at the buildings on either side of the road and wonder what you would do if the whole thing started again whilst in the middle of all of this chaos…
Footnote: The earthquake was of 6.9 magnitude, centred on North East India. As I write, BBC World Service is reporting that 16 people have died across the region, including 3 in Kathmandu, who were killed by a collapsing wall. This is apparently the strongest earthquake to hit the country in 78 years.
There but for the grace of …. I guess.