What nature has in store for us is something we know only after it has happened. It is wild, uncontrollable and unpredictable.
But it is nature that provides us. We have to know how we can keep nature at peace, if that is the word.
That is what we all realised during the recent earthquake that devastated the eastern parts of our country. It is a sad thing. The celebration of Thruebab was subdued.
On the day of Thruebab, a young man wished a friend. The friend expressed his thanks but said that there is no happiness with reports of some 11 people dead in the eastern part of the country.
The person only wanted to express his good wishes on that occasion. But he was taken aback by his friend’s answer. In the course of discussions, he mentioned that his uncle’s house in Udzorong was completely destroyed and he doesn’t know if any one was hurt or not.
Despite this knowledge, he wished his friend happy Thruebab. It takes a lot of courage to do that. It was a sad Thruebab.
Some families lost two to three family members in this disaster. Most of us were so detached from the scene of destruction and devastation that we only have a vague picture of it. That is because it has not directly affected us.
Every death makes us small. Most of all, it is our inability to do anything about it that really makes us so incapacitated and useless. What do we do a about it? We just express our condolences and hope that such a thing will not happen to us.
In their hour of bereavement, the prime minister and the home minister went east to supervise relief operations. The officials from the Zimpoen’s office and the personnel from the Royal Bhutan Army and private citizens are doing a fine job assisting the people in providing some sort of temporary shelter.
Even with all the concerted efforts, it is obvious that the old houses are not going to be restored in time before the winter sets in. Besides, with the Autumn at our door step, it is time that people will have to reap their harvest or whatever is left of it.
Sadly, many of the families will be engaged in performing rites for the dead ones. Death is a business that we, Bhutanese, take very seriously. Our failure to perform our duties towards our dead always haunts us.
The east, for some reason or the other, had always had to bear the brunt of natural calamities. The wind storm that blew away roofs and damaged many houses was a tragedy in itself. Now the recent quake causing massive destruction is absolutely something out of the blue.
It is surprising that the outside agencies had all the details about the gravity of the situation before we even had an inkling of what was going to happen or when it did, how it happened.
As we are in seismic zone, we should have some system of advance warning to enable the people to be prepared. Such arrangement could be made when other agencies were able to come out with the details of the seismic activities in the country before our own agencies could come out with the vaguest details.
Perhaps there is a need for more cooperation and study. We have been too complacent for too long.