Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 27:
Om Acharya, a tattoo artist from Odisha, was in Nepal’s capital Kathmandu to participate in an international tattoo festival when the high magnitude earthquake hit Nepal on April 25. He shared with us his first hand experience of the fateful day, on which he saw more than 60 people die in front him.
“It was about 11:30 AM on Saturday morning. I was about to leave for the conference venue from Hotel Thamel, a luxury hotel where I was residing in Kathmandu. All of a sudden, I experienced head reeling and felt tremors below my feet. I started running out impulsively after I heard buildings started making cracking noise around me.
Even before I could realize anything, I saw many other guests also running out of the hotel. Probably none of us knew what to do or where to go. I witnessed a man jumping from the fifth floor of the hotel and dying after a few moments of suffering right before my eyes.
All through the day, I saw people crying and running desperately for safety. All through the day, I saw more than 60 people die in front me painfully. While I was lucky to be outside the building and remain alive, thousands of others were not.
I had never seen this fury of nature. Never expected to see it either. It hurt me the most to see the troubling images of thousands living in open camps out in the cold and rain as they are left with no place called home, the loud cries of those who lost their near and dead ones and the widespread devastation.
After two days of hunger and sleep deprivation, now I am in Bhubaneswar. But, I can’t forget a single moment of the horror I witnessed there. The moment I close my eyes, I feel the world spinning again. The moment I close my eyes, I hear the disturbing screams of helpless and dying people. I have felt the ground shaking four times before I boarded my flight. I still feel dead. This is no less than a trauma and a permanent scar.
As if all that was not enough, the indifference of the Odisha Government to the plight of us in Nepal was appalling. Fifteen of us tattoo artists from Odisha were there in the conference. We managed to catch a rescue flight at 3 AM in the morning on Sunday to reach Delhi. While representatives of many state governments had made arrangements to take their people with them, there was no one from Odisha Government to help us forcing us to take refuge in the Andhra Pradesh camp”.