I have a special fondness for Nepal, not only because it is a lovely country which I have visited several times, but mainly because all our staff are Nepalese Gurkhas.
The Bahadurs and Rajkumari run our lives totally. We could not function the way we do without them. As those of you who know our household are aware, Nar Bahadur and Yem Bahadur have been with us since early 1989.
They predate Anjulie in our lives.
They are part of our family. Plain and simple.
So the devastating news from Nepal today – which only gets worse with each Twitter update – shocked us all profoundly. Initially, none of the Bahadurs could get through to their families back in Nepal, since all the phones were down, but by early evening, they all had news from home. Barring one of Suraj’s uncles, who is still unaccounted for in Kathmandu, everyone is fine.
Nar Bahadur’s house has been damaged, but not too severely he says.
And all their families are safe. Except Suraj’s chacha, of course.
The other person I was very worried about is a climbing friend, Kuntal Joisher, with whom I summited Mentok Kangri in 2013.
He is a charming young man, a brilliant companion, and a very kind climber – if that makes sense. Considerate to a total newbie (and old age pensioner) like me, and always ready to help and advise and cheer others along.
Great photographer, too.
Last year Kuntal set out to climb Mount Everest – but his expedition turned back after the killer avalanche.
He set out again this year, and has been updating us all via Facebook from Base Camp, so the sheer terror of imagining him being caught up in the earthquake…but he is safe, thank the good Lord.
And the good folk at White Magic, the lovely company with whom I have done 2 climbs, are safely at Kathmandu airport.
And just now, whilst writing this, one of my book club girls, Dina, messaged us all to say that they are all OK. They were outside Pashupatinath temple when the earthquake happened, and crawled on the ground as buildings came down. They have no water in the hotel nor food. But they are alive.
And so, selfishly, my little world is OK. (And thank God for social media.)
We felt the earthquake here in Delhi, about 11.45. It seemed to go on for a long time, lots of shuddering and shaking that eased off, and then returned, and then eased off again.
Bhaktapur (above) where Hari and I climbed up to a wonky little balcony and had cold drinks with a fab view is in ruins, one hears.
My heart bleeds for one of the world’s poorest countries.