Thursday, March 17, 2011


An old  painitng of a tsunami wave by Katsushika Hokusai (circa 18th century).
Mount Fuji can be seen in the background

When natural calamities occur, like the earthquake and tsunami that the people of Japan faced last week, people take strength from one other and try to rescue survivors and hope for the best. No one can be blamed for such occurrences. But it sets  one thinking that this is God’s way of reminding us that there IS a power far beyond our reach, and in no way the humans could compete with Him.

When man-made accidents happen we definitely get angry with the persons who are responsible for such accidents, who take the lives of innocent people. Every morning you open the newspaper to find such headlines ‘Two die in a scooter accident’, ‘Four dead in a truck car collision’,  a train accident, and so on and on . It really makes me angry to read these news items. I think that people in a hurry to reach their destination, just forget to be careful about not only their safety but of others too.

What really made me write this post today is a news item I read in The Hindu two days back.
Four-year-old Saira Banu who  "was travelling home with her parents on a motorcycle suffered a grievous injury when a thread coated with ‘maanja' used to fly a kite slit her throat".

This is very sad, and my heart goes out to the young parents, who must have been full of dreams for the future of their little girl. The story goes on to say that two boys who were flying the kite were arrested along with the men who  sold the  maanja (thread coated with powdered glass) to them. Okay! That is how justice is carried out. Will these arrests bring back their child for the young couple!

This news item reminds me of another such incident that took place years back - a long time back. It happened in an Italian city. A man was going home from work riding his motorcycle. All of a sudden a kite flown by some boys fell down and the Italian equivalent of the maanja string that came down along with the kite found this man in its way! It is difficult to believe, but the string simply went on its way decapitating the motorcyclist

Without losing momentum the motorcycle proceeded on the road with the headless rider!! A man driving his car coming from the opposite direction, shocked to see the headless rider, lost control of his car and crashed into a pickup truck carrying iron rods. He died on the spot. Worse, the sudden impact of the crash dislodged the iron rods. Two of them went right through the windshield of the vehicle coming behind and caused the death of the two front-seat passengers!!

Though it is years back that I read this news, it is etched in my memory with indelible ink because of its frightening ferocity. One can find comfort taking things philosophically. “Oh what to do? It is all predestined.” But what about the survivors? Who will comfort them? Their loss is great for them. Nothing will bring back the dead!

Man-made disasters are more frightening than natural calamities!! This is what I feel. Maybe I am wrong.