Ok, how many of you are actually a bit Ghoulish in nature? By this I mean, someone interested in death or a disaster mainly? It’s not the word anyone would like to identify with. New in my dictionary, I did hear it somewhere but I had to look up to find its meaning. From what I understand, ghoulish is a familiar term in the west and since it’s the week of Halloween, today’s challenge makes a lot of sense. But then, I don’t know anything about this western celebration, so I might as well talk about myself.
It was 2004. My ghoulish curiosity in natural disasters was born. I woke up to my neighbours banging on our door, and then telling us that the sea has come inside and a lot of people have died. Being naïve, I thought they were stupid. I mean, ‘common’. How can the sea come inside? And those were the literal words they used. We had never heard of anything like this. Our schoolbooks taught us about Droughts, Volcanic eruptions, Floods, Earthquakes and Cyclones and none of these actually gave a description of huge waves coming into land with great speed and colossal force. I thought it must be a high tide. I also felt, may be the news channels are spreading rumours to cause chaos and create a new ‘news’. A lot of thinking went on in my tiny head as they kept talking with gestures and varied tones to my mom who was left speechless. An hour into all this madness, we finally saw the first few images and videos of people from different countries and were left in shock.
The scale of devastation that day was immense. 14 countries were hit and oblivious to a tsunami and the power it carries, many stood near the shore watching the approaching waves. By the time they realised the danger, the racing waters had already absorbed them. For us commoners, our Sundays changed. Everyone feared the waters. I, on the other hand, started having mixed dreams. Sometimes I would be in front of the waters, running for my life or falling into the raging waters from a building while warning others. It was crazy and unhealthy. I ended up becoming fascinated and inquisitive about the sheer power of the sea, its ability not just to sustain life but also destroy it in a matter of few seconds. Isn’t it weird how we humans take nine months and several hours to enter this world and only a few seconds to exit? I wanted to know a lot of things like:
- How is it formed?
- What causes it?
- Can we stop the tectonic plates from snapping?
- Is there a way to release the built in pressure in a harmless way?
- How to you identify it even when an expected organization or an agency hasn’t alarmed the people?
- How can we survive once it hits us or sweeps us?
- Can we get lucky in fighting against the waters rage?
- What happens under the sea and to its dwellers?
- Do animals know about an incoming disaster?
- How can we humans prevent it?
- Can we predict the next one and if yes, how much of information can we actually get?
- How much of studies has gone and is currently going on in this subject?
Wow, there are so many questions I still want to ask. One thing is certain though, no matter how many answers we get or how much we advance in technology, I feel that nature will always has the last say – in everything. Our lives traced back to normalcy after few weeks and I too resorted to my mundane life. Besides the irreplaceable damage, there were some positive transformations amongst all of us. One was the inclusion of ‘tsunami’ in the textbooks and two, was educating people on not just the disaster and reading the danger signs, but also the need to learn swimming. I still continue talking about this subject even though it’s easy to get the information online. There is no need for it, but from what I have seen, we humans seldom take interest in anything that is unrelated to us and a morbid topic is definitely not on the list for discussion.
Do you have a ghoulish curiosity like me? I would like to hear your thoughts on the same.