Friday, May 01, 2015

Pondering the predictability of life

That’s something I rarely do. Really, who has the time for introspection amidst the daily chaos? Along came an earthquake and shook me up not just physically, which it most certainly did, but also mentally. All I could think of was ushering everyone out as the kids babbled excitedly - marvelling at the swaying ceiling fan and shuddering knick knacks. 

It wasn’t strong enough to really scare me, specially since we were on the ground floor and the children were with me. It did, however, put things in perspective.

A while back I’d stumbled on a site called theburninghouse.com where people answer the question ‘If your house were burning what would you take with you’. It’s a thought-provoking question and has some interesting answers as people try to balance the ‘practical with the sentimental'. Some said they’d pick a much-loved teddy, a beautiful piece of jewellery, a bunch of family photographs, a cherished book of recipes. The practical ones picked wallets, house keys, car keys and passports. Others said they’d take along cameras and sunglasses. One of them even said he’d take along his ukulele.


Well, to each his own.

However, I do maintain that what you actually would pick up in a crisis situation might be very different from this carefully thought out list. The thing is, we never really know our reactions to unusual situations till we are actually there. If you’ve ever seen someone not being able to answer basic questions on quiz shows or making blunders in examinations or forgetting simple dance steps on the stage and have labelled them incredibly stupid, perhaps it’s time for a rethink. 

It’s been a few days now. I’ve been looking at the horrifying pictures of Nepal, where the epicentre was located, and can only be grateful for being safe. One takeaway from this whole thing has been the reinforcement of the idea to not ‘Postpone Joy’, to make the most of the present.

Have you ever thought about it? What would you take along if an earthquake hit? 


Linking to ABC Wednesday for the letter P.




20 comments:

  1. Really scary, isn't it? The first thing I always think about is my last conversation with my spouse or my daughter and if that was the way I would want them to remember me. Any idea how that makes me feel? Every single day? I don't hold grudges, as you know. These days though, I apologise within seconds of losing my temper or having a spat. It is not worth it. Just not worth it. I totally get what you mean in this post.

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    1. I know what you mean Shailaja. And I'm sure the new Zen you is exactly the way they would remember you.

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  2. A tough question you have asked at the end.It is difficult to answer unless one is in such a situation as you have rightly said.Most people try to save themselves first and then only think of their dear and near for taking along.

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    1. That might be true KP - that instinct of self-preservation is strong in all living beings.

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  3. I remember when we had to flee from the attacks of the young Indonesians at the end of 1945. All Dutch people had to go back to the Netherlands. We got this message one of these dangerous days. There was no time, to think what we could take with us, besides we had already lost almost everything. My sister took silver teaspoons, I took sundayschool biblical pictures. We had no time. My sisters were 8 and 6 years old. I was 12.
    That was scary. We could leave Java on an English ship, which took us to Singapore. We were safe.
    Well that was my life and what we took with us.

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    1. I cannot even begin to imagine how scary it must have been for a young person who doesn't even fully comprehend why someone can hate her so much. Glad you all got out safe.

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  4. I'm glad you are all safe.
    We live in an earthquake-prone zone so in the family, we all have a drill to follow about what to do if an earthquake or fire happens. I grab the kids and my husband grabs a packed bag containing all our important documents and hard drive containing soft copies of all our valued photos! We even have a designated place to meet in case we're not together.

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    1. Thanks Roshni. Glad you have a plan if you're living in an earthquake-prone place. This sounds very sensible.

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  5. Very interesting question to ponder! For me (and I'll bet for my husband as well), I'd make sure all three of our cats were with us. And if I had a chance, I'd grab my purse which contains all my ID and my smartphone. That's about it, I think! Glad you and your family are safe.

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    1. Thanks Laurel. Pets are as precious as kids. And of course the IDs. Yeah - that's a sane mix of possessions to carry.

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  6. I believe in the moment of crisis, the first action will be to run to the safety with your loved ones.

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    1. Right Rajesh that's exactly what I did. Possessions take a backseat.

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  7. Yes indeed, it is a question worth serious pondering. I have often thought about it, I am not sure I have the answer. Maybe it is one of those things that the answer appears only at the moment when the question moves from the stage of hypothetical to the real. But yes such an introspective exercise does make us more aware of what is really important in life. Very good post, Tulika!

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    1. Thanks Beloo. The possibility of losing all we have seems so remote that we rarely pause to think what we would do if we were faced with the idea. You're right though - it's good to be prepared.

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  8. It's a question that I've pondered about, but to be honest, I don't think I have an answer. If I had to pick an ITEM, I'd probably say my HDD with copies of all my memories - photos, videos, writing etc. Yes, they all exist in my head, but sometimes copies are good too. Now, if it was a person or two - oh well, we could be here a while :P

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    1. Oh yes - memories are precious indeed.

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  9. I have a metal box in my bedroom. It has my passport and other important papers.

    ROG, ABCW

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  10. I agree that the actual event would be different with fear and adrenalin involved!

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    1. Absolutely. We can never really predict how we'll behave.

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