We Will Bounce Back

April 26, 2015 , by Sanyukta Shrestha, Leave your thoughts
We Will Bounce Back » My Dreams Mag

Britain woke up to an already gloomy Saturday of April 25th, when the news of an earthquake had already made way into the social media profiles of those having friends and family in Nepal. Until the mention of 7.6 Richter scale hit everyone’s attention, followed by unbelievable photos and videos of chaos and rumbles, Nepalese community was still not taking it that seriously as there had been a minor hit earlier this year with but no major damage. This time, it was catastrophic and it equally fell on the Nepalese diaspora around the world. Their number in the UK being 59,000 as per 2011 census, it is believed that actual figures could be much higher.

Like a small piece of the earthquake was felt in every Nepali household in the UK, everyone was desperate to get the news of their family’s well-being back home, leading to an expected congestion in international bandwidth connecting the country. Thanks to social media, information kept coming from Nepal while she kept getting the aftershocks every 15 minutes for around 8 long hours.

Patan Durbar Square (left) and Basantapur (right) as on25th April, 2015. Photo: Bhushan Shilpakar
It was indeed not easy for Nepalis in the UK to have their Saturday lunch on their dining tables while their friends and families stayed outside in the open all day. By the night, photos of people camping in parks under a dark sky started making it even more miserable for the helpless distant observers. It was indeed one of the longest weekends for them. Some of the biggest blows were brought by photos showing half buried and dead people in the debris, and the 17th century World heritage sites like Patan Durbar Square heavily damaged.

As was expected, the Nepalese community in the UK which now has hundreds of organisations of various nature, reacted immediately; with every other organisation, association and even individuals pleading for funds to be raised for the earthquake relief. Within hours, emails from their association of engineers, cultural organisations and religious groups started coming in, all asking to donate. Within a day, singers had their plans ready to do charity concerts, while artists started organising themselves for group exhibitions to support the cause. There was but something positive coming out of the biggest loss of all times for the Nepali folks, – people were united and they had a common objective, – to be safe, to help those in problem and console one another until the hard time was over; long-warned but never-welcome as it was, the deadliest earthquake was finally back after 1934.

Patan Durbar Square (left) and Dharahara (right) in the aftermath of 1934 quake.
To fight with this common foe, there was but no other option than joining hands. Nepali populace which was until the night before was divided between various political beliefs and a more recent ethnic identity crisis, were now friends in need. One of the biggest shocks felt above the ground was the nine-storied Dharahara tower now dwarfed to just two storeys. Erected in 1832 in the heart of Kathmandu by Nepal’s first prime-minister, Bhimsen Thapa, it was a symbol of pride for the modern nation. This earthquake took it away from them, leaving a void in the common psyche which may not come to rest until the entire city is rebuilt to its former glory.
Dharahara as on 25th April 2015. Photo: Sunita Junu
10th century Basantapur Palace which in itself is the history of Kathmandu’s golden age royalties, has lost most of its tall constructions that until the night before showcased traditional Newar craftmanship unparalleled in the world. Bungamati, which observed it’s 12-yearly carnival only days before the quake, it’s major temple complex is flattened to everyone’s awe. The list is just endless and for the present generation of Nepalese, both home and abroad, there is now a long way to go if the losses are to be recovered. Only time will tell if the Nepali youth is actually capable of it.

There is this whole country in existing problems of political turmoil, inadequate infrastructure, unsatisfactory economic growth and underdeveloped industrial sector. Now add to that, the losses due to what will hereafter be remembered as ‘The Earthquake of 2015′. Much like how elderlies in Nepal maintain a relative sense of time by saying ‘Nabbey saal ko bhuichalo pachhi’ or ‘Nabbey saal ko bhuichalo aghi’ (Before or after the 1990 BS/ 1934 AD earthquake).

No later than international charity organisations like Oxfam launching their Nepal Disaster Appeal, social media giant Facebook activating Safety Check for people affected by earthquake in Nepal and search engine giant Google launching its Person Finder: 2015 Nepal Earthquake, Nepalese youth from around the world made a new and timely slogan go viral on social media. The first among those featured the tall tower of Dharahara, intact, over a setting sun and captioned: ‘We Will Bounce Back’.

This is just the first ray of hope and we have no choice but not to look back.



Words by Sanyukta Shrestha.
Follow Sanyukta on Twitter @sanyuktashr

To read more from Sanyukta, please click here.


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