Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Last night I awoke to what seemed like the house shaking violently. I was in that half sleep state, and was wondering what kind of vehicle would be going down our street that could make such a racket. There was about 10 seconds of shaking followed by a pause and some more shaking. During the second jolt I wearily pulled open the curtains to see if there were any tanks rolling down the street. Seeing nothing, I just went back to sleep thinking that I’d imagined the whole thing.

I forgot about it until I read the paper this morning. On the front page over a small two paragraph blurb was the heading “Aftershock.” Upon reading the headline the midnight shaking came back to my memory. Apparently there was a 5.4 magnitude aftershock last night centered in Kashmir which is NE of Lahore. One of my co-workers also felt it and had a similar reaction. We’ve been working so much on launching this new program that we both attributed the shaking to the malfunctioning of our burned out minds. For once, we were wrong. For a split second during the night I did think it might be an earthquake, and wondered what I should do if it was. Since the shaking wasn’t that bad I had just passed it off and gone by to sleep!

I can’t imagine what it must have felt like for the people who live up north, where one of the most severe earthquakes in history hit last fall. The terror they must feel each time the shaking starts in the night. Many are still homeless and some villages still have not been reached by aid workers. The lone pot that your family owns starts to rattle in that telltale way. Grab the baby as she cries. Wake the grandparents and urge them to move quickly. Make sure to cover your hair as you run out of the house; it’s just a reflex for you by now. Wonder if your sister and brother in law are alright in the next village, knowing that if this earthquake is as big as the last one you might never see them again.

I'm sure this is not exactly what women in the northern areas were thinking yesterday, but who knows, maybe I'm not too far off.

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