There may (but hopefully not!) come a time in every one's life when you're confronted by the reality of the personal tragedy inflicted upon a family, or even a whole community,by the sometimes cataclysmic power of Mother Nature.A hurricane, a flash flood after torrential rain, or the greater damage of a tsunami generated by an earthquake perhaps.A sudden clash of Earth's tectonic plates.Caused by that slow increase of tension as the earth's plates move ever so slightly against it's neighbours, building up stress over perhaps centuries, and finally reaching a breaking point , suddenly released in a massive violent explosion of energy.So often we feel minor quakes here in New Zealand , a country spreadeagled full length on a major earthquake-generating collision zone between two of the Earth's great tectonic plates.
An awesome event, but it happens to others.Somewhere else.We read about it in the news.Watch it sometimes on the TV.Sure we stock up on survival gear,heeding the warnings issued from Civil Disaster bureaus, and throw another can of beans towards the back of the cupboard, and store away another bottle of water, for that oneday, someday emergency.We've done our bit.We're ready .
But are we really?
And are we really aware of how it affects those survivors?.....................................
But throughout this discourse, keep in mind how drastic the effects are on people who have nothing, being hit with a major disaster like this tsunami, and how they go about picking up their lives from the wreckage.
Boxing Day,December 26th, 2004. Arriving in Singapore airport, in transit for our onwards flight to Chennai, blearily wandering through the lounge areas,briefly seeing a TV screen showing a schematic map,arrows pointing outwards from a bulls eye in the Andaman Sea,but too many people gathered around with eyes transfixed on the news report for us to bother to stop and see what was going on.
Eventually carrying on with our flight and arriving in Chennai very late in that evening.A taxi to our hotel through eerily empty streets in the dark.Shops all shuttered.No one on the street.Strange?.Not the India we were expecting.Where were the masses?The huddling, heaving, grasping masses of poor street people desperate to grab a tourist and shake him til a dollar drops out of his pocket.Where were they?Why so silent?Where were the markets, the pavement vendors, the hawkers, the vibrant colour and life of India we'd read so much about?
Staff at our arrival hotel in broken English greeting us with ''Big wave Sir.Big wave"
Responding with a tired big wave from me in return.And a bellhop taking our bags to our room.
"Big wave sir!"A big wave back to him as we fish out small change for the tip.
"You watch TV sir!"
"No we want to go to bed!"
"Watch TV sir.You watch TV!"
And we watched TV.
We watched and we watched TV!
As the enormity of the drama, the tragedy visited upon India , and the rest of the countries surrounding that arrowed sea on the airport TV screen hit us!
Yeah, a big wave alright.A huge frikken wave!
More, much more to follow.Stay tuned!