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My heart cries for you, Nepal

Over 6,000 people have lost their lives in the Nepal earthquake, and the toll is expected to touch 10,000. When I think about it, I am at a loss for words. It is deeply saddening, and painful to see so much suffering in this world. 

Nepal holds a special place in my heart. I visited that beautiful country in April 2004. It was the first time I stepped out of India; I was sent there on a 'fam' (familiarisation) trip by the newspaper I was working for then. I had never seen a snow peak till then, and remember being awestruck by the sight. What's more, the peaks were part of the mighty Himalayas. In fact, on April 25, 2004, exactly eleven years back (the day the earthquake struck in Nepal -- April 25, 2015) I was somewhere between Kathmandu and Pokhara, I think. This region is among the worst affected. The epicentre of the quake is somewhere in between these two famous tourist centres.

During that trip, we went on a shortish trek near Bandipur, visited the Siddha Caves, went to Manakamana, and in Kathmandu, visited the famed Pashupathinath Temple and the Darbar Square. It saddens me to see that the Square is pretty much rubble today.

Back then, I didn't even have a camera. I took along my brother's handycam, but unfortunately that tape can't be played anymore. I didn't have a cellphone, and had to make calls from a telephone booth, probably one per day or one in two days to my then boyfriend who is now my husband, who would then inform my family. I was an introvert (still am), and didn't even make many friends on that trip. When our team of journalists set out to fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara, if my memory serves me right, the flight was cancelled because of poor weather. But that turned out to be a blessing in disguise as we hired a small bus to make the journey back to Kathmandu.

I remember gazing at the snow peaks, freezing them in my mind forever, (the Himalayas, the Himalayas!!), stopping by some roadside tea shop that served food, and seeing a leopard cub being petted by the shop owners. They let us touch it, and with shivering hands, I touched the cub's skin oh so lightly! I remember going on a village walk near Bandipur as well. And tasting raksi, the local brew made of rice.

Anyway, I think of Nepal fondly, and have so many memories associated with it on the professional front, but more importantly on the personal front. Today, as I see the wooden structures reduced to rubble, and the death toll only rising, my heart aches for that beautiful country. 

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I have spent time as an attendant to a family member on more than a couple of occasions, for at least a fortnight or more each time, and am just recording my thoughts, in a random fashion.


When you are a caregiver, you often get offers like, "if you want help let us know". But how often does a caregiver remember your offer, especially when he or she is caught up with taking care of the patient? How does the caregiver know what kind of help you are willing to offer or whether you are reliable? The burden of providing you with opportunities to help can be too much for the caregiver, especially sitting in an ICU waiting room or a ward with a patient in pain. If you really want to help, show up, find out how you can ease the burden off the caregiver in little ways. And act. Often, you could be offering help just to satisfy your conscience or as a nicety. You move on, once the caregiver says, "Thanks. Will let you know." The caregiver doesn't know if you really wan…