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.
On the way to Everest base Camp, above, in 2004, when I trekked there alone.
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.)
But for the rest…our dear neighbour is in a terrible state, and the after shocks continue, we hear. There has been an avalanche at Everest Base Camp. Climbers have been killed.
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.
So today we had 2 large & nasty aftershocks.
Took a drive around Pokhara & spoke to the police chief again & no damage reported.
Was a warm sunny day & most Pokharans spent it outdoors as they are still too frightened to stay inside.
Saw one Nepali Army helicopter & one Indian Army helicopter flying out of Pokhara Airport, they are flying to Lamjung (the epicentre).
The word is that Lamjung is “khattam” or totalled. Nepalis that have relatives in Lamjung & nearby villages are waiting for news of their loved ones outside the Pokhara Airport.
A TV reporter from Headlines Today was onboard one of the IAF sorties to Lamjung so we should see pics of the devastation soon.
My maid is from a rural village that is 2 days on foot away from Pokhara, she finally got through by phone to her family & all is ok.
I’m still dumbfounded that Pokhara has survived with so little damage.
Thank goodness for small mercies, Beatrix, and am so happy for your maid. We had a tremor around lunchtime today. Stay safe. Cyber hugs.
Thank you for the news of Pokhara, Beatrix.All the Nepalese people I have spoken to since yesterday. who come from various parts of stricken Nepal. say their immediate families are well, but almost everyone has a tale of a relative who is missing, or the children of relatives who cannot be found. The death toll is going to be much higher.
It is so very sad and always seems to hit the poorest people with the least resources. The Nepalese I met there were so friendly and courteous. It shouldn’t matter but it is easier to relate to places you have been and people you met.
so so sad for this beautiful place Christine be with you
Inder Jit Singh you are so right. Poor dear country.
I am really very sad for Nepal 🙁
This time round the aid Nepal will need will have to be of an immense scale..rebuilding its heritage will be an important component..
All ok with the bahadurs family
So sad……my heart goes to penalese people ,
Yes, thanks Vineeta. Nar B probably leaving to go home since his house damaged overnight in after shocks. But everyone alive and accounted for, thank God.
I survived the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake (M6.9) when I was in university in hard hit San Francisco & now I made it through Nepal’s M7.8.
I must say that was one L O N G M 7 . 8 E A R T H Q U A K E.
We were about 30 miles away from Lamjung, the epicenter, when all HELL broke loose.
Drove to Pokhara & experienced a LONG M6.6 aftershock. Not much damage in Pokhara. Spoke to the chief of police in Pokhara who informed us that only 2 people had perished & they did not live within the city limits. Went to Pokhara’s Manipal teaching hospital to see if they needed any help in the form of a 4WD ambulance or medical staff & they had everything under control.
So Pokhara remained relatively unscathed compared to poor Kathmandu.
Most Pokharans are out in the streets now, (having been advised not to go indoors until aftershocks have resided), milling about, singing around fires, a public puja is being performed, I hear a conch blowing far off in the distance.
I heard Pashupatinath survived, but Durbar Square is in ruins.
Bhaktapur & the Bhimsen tower are razed. The old palace is damaged beyond repair also.
Most of the new ‘highrise’ luxury flats in Kathmandu didn’t fare too well either.
In the largely affluent neighborhoods of low-rise, sturdy homes in suburban Kathmandu the damage was relatively low.
It all seems a bit surreal.
Beatrix, thank God you are ok. Please keep on sharing updates and photos – if you are happy for me to share them, email and I will share them. Everyone here so concerned. One of my staff probably leaving for home, after his house was damaged overnight in more aftershocks. God knows what condition the roads are in. though. Poor dear Nepal. And you stay safe, dear cyber-friend.
Quite a few of my friends there too in kathmandu..I am very thankful to God that they are all safe..just praying for less casualties now..they don’t deserve this disaster
This is terrible.
Sad, sad, sad…..We too have Nepalese staff and one of our staff members is away on leave in Pokhara, along with his wife and two beautiful children. No way of getting in touch, as he did not leave his Nepalese mobile number with him, and his Indian one is probably switched off. We are so worried and hope he and his family are safe. Our other staff and my son’s driver have been lucky, and their families are all safe, but they all know of people who have been affected, whose houses have fallen down, whose relatives are untraceable. Devastating….
Heart-breaking indeed… Nepal has suffered a lot in recent years… it is a wonderful country