Rabin Prasad Kalita
Tarjinder, Imtaz and I were in New Delhi to attend a cricket camp organized by our employer CAG for a period of one week. It was just after a few days of Nepal’s deadliest tremor occurred on 25th of April, 2015. The shiver was felt even in Delhi and beyond. A room was booked for us in the hotel Rama Inn which was at Paharganj, Arakashan Road.
Reaching Delhi by train, we hired an Auto Rickshaw who took us to the hotel. After reaching we posed a query to the receptionist whether the room was booked for our stay. The counterperson simply nodded and said yes in reply. Still we were asked to deposit a booking amount, which made us to think a little. Before paying, we requested them to show our room and accordingly we were escorted by a hotel boy.
Oh my goodness, by seeing the condition and fitments of the room altogether, we got doubt on the genuineness of the hotel. Everything was looked so shabby and dirty wherever we threw our eyes. The room was not at all congenial and healthy for a stay as if it was not used for months together. Hence, we inquired from the manager to clarify our suspicion. Simultaneously, one of our friends goggled and traced another hotel nearby that which carried the same name. Moreover, a friend of us who was already there in that hotel dialed and asked our whereabouts. By then, we got rest assured that we stepped into a wrong hotel. Although the manager tried to convince in a motive to cheat us, we made a quick way out to find our actual hotel which was booked prior to our arrival in Delhi.
After a few minutes of search, finally we discovered our hotel and thus we could save ourselves from an apparent fraudulence. Accordingly we were placed in our room which was in fourth floor. After getting fresh and having a good amount of rest over there, we went out of the hotel for dinner in a nearby eatery.
We were surprised to listen about the aftershocks of the Nepal’s earthquake, which were a prime matter of conversation for everyone out there. There were hundreds of after effects of different magnitudes kept on shaking till the time we reached Delhi. We learned that many people spent sleepless night staying outside of their houses thinking of a sudden tremor.
Reaching our room after dinner, we were also troubled mentally thinking of an unpredictable tremble. May we be built up that fear due to the trending discussion of the tremor? Hence, we collectively thought of a technique to know about it in its initial stage, so that we can have sufficient time to get out of the hotel to a safe place. We decided to keep a glass of water on the table and kept looking now and then to see if there is any movement on the water surface so that we get an alarm of a probable danger. Sitting on the bed, we threes started playing cards to pass our idle time until we were caught slumbered. In between our ongoing game, Tarjinder was told to go and look at the glass. He found and signaled us by shouting that the surface of the water was quivering out and in.
Within a second, we all ran out of the room as we were and climbed down through the narrow stairway to the ground floor. Seeing us running down, the counterperson curiously asked what the matter was. Listening to our equivocal apprehension, they were simply laughing and advised us not to think much about it and said nothing had happened. Moreover we saw, there was no change on the face of the people around. That was the moment of an embarrassment for us. We smiled at each other and kept moving up through the lift towards our room and concurrently thought why the water was swinging.
Entering the room again we saw the surface of the water was still shaking up and down. We sat and stated musing to find out the cause of it. Imtaz caught the nerve out of the blue and said that may be due to the AC. Yes, soon he switched off the AC, the water stopped trembling. We admonished ourselves for getting overreacted which made us obtuse.
Thereafter, we decided to go for sleep seconding each other and leaving the discretion on the hands of the unseen. At about 1.30am, we got up all of a sudden due to the suffocation we felt while breathing which was smelt like burning of electric wire. This time, we sat a while to learn the situation before taking an abrupt assessment to step out. Gradually the air inside the room got filthy which made us to drive out of the room at once. There were hue and cries inside as well as outside the hotel. Staffs along with boarders of the hotel were already at the ground floor when we reached there.
There was an electrical fire broke out due to the short circuit on the controlling unit placed at the ground floor. Almost all the staff and boarders of the nearby hotels rushed to our hotel out of fear, lest the fire stretches beyond. It was like one trouble invites another trouble. Surprisingly one of the idiots amongst the lot poured a pail of water on the power supply junction box with a motive to put out. What an ignorance that was! Fortunately there was a break of the flow of water between the two ends while throwing and thus that moron could set aside himself from a possible mishap.
The eyes of the hotel staffs were on customers, in case they leave the hotel availing the opportunity of the chaotic state of affairs. Though the fire was extinguished within an hour or so, but it took another two hours to restore the electricity. Roughly about three hours later, the situation became normal. By the time we returned to our room, the distressing night was almost over and the mighty sun was waiting to rise by scattering the last patch of the remaining dark.
The writer is from Kamrup (M), Assam and can be reached at [email protected]