25 April 2015

“Boley to hyperbole-y” :-)

A pretty large earthquake hit Nepal and India with a high toll – especially in Nepal. However, the effects were felt all the way in southern Bengal where all my folks live. They are all fine.

But talking to them was one of the endearing exercises I could have ever gone thru for a couple of hours early this Saturday morning. First and foremost, every family member wanted to talk to describe to me their first hand experience and eye witness report. And some of the reports were hilarious to say, the least.

My sister – who absolutely believes all adjectives exist to be used in the superlative form only – is convinced that this is the worst earthquake in the history of mankind. When I mildly challenged her the earthquake could not have lasted for two minutes in Kalyani when it was about 20 seconds in Delhi (much closer to the epicenter), she retorted “Tora America-y thakis boley nijeder sobjaanta bhabis”. Apparently, we Americans are prone to thinking of ourselves as know-alls!! In her mind, on the Richter scale of 0-9.5 (highest recorded), this one fell outside the Richter scale.

I understand her building swayed by “at least one foot” on either side. When pointed out a five storey building cannot take that level of stress, she was very pleased with herself that she had chosen a much better construction company than any other in that area.

The elderly ones – my dad, father in law and such had a very similar reaction to the earthquake. Not expecting an earthquake in the slightest bit, each one of them concluded that they were having a heart attack or some kind of massive health failure!! Somehow it never struck my parents that there is little to no chance that both of them will have a heart attack at the exact same time.

As I was hearing my mom describe the earthquake, I could hear my dad rattling off all sorts of geographical stuff from behind. (Geography used to be his forte). I could hear him from the background ask my mom to check if I knew what the “Ring of Fire” was. Curiously, he thought 7.9 Richter is higher than “normal”. As much as I tried to convince him there is nothing called “normal” in measurement of earthquake, he firmly stood his ground that 6 is normal. I think he is watching too much IPL these days.

On the other end of the age spectrum, the youngest family members had a more measured response. My eleven year nephew simply said “dnariye dnariye knepe gelam” (meaning, I got shaken up merely trying to stand up). The youngest nephew (nine years old) had an even simpler answer when asked what did he do :

“Ami to mejhey-tey shue-ey porlam” (I laid down on the floor)
“Keno”? (Why), I asked
“Dekhchhilam kirokom laagey” (I was trying to find out how it feels).

I really wish I had a few more hours this morning. It would have been awesome to call up a few more relatives…

Posted April 25, 2015 by Rajib Roy in category "Humor


  1. By Shuvashree Basu Mukherjee on

    I agree with your sis it did last more than 20 seconds atleast I felt so:) realising it’s an earthquake took me 20 seconds till that time I felt like your parents I m dizzy..after that 20 seconds:) atleast I feel so:)

  2. By Shuvashree Basu Mukherjee on

    It’s like when you are on treadmill the seconds dnt pass it seems the timer is stuck…nd you are shopping (for me atleast) you look at your watch it’s like ‘gosh it’s already three hours time flies’:)

  3. By Rajib Roy on

    So, it would appear, Shuvashree, the origin of the problem of duality comes from getting on to a treadmill? 🙂

  4. By Keya Banerjee Guin on

    I heard similar things this morning (one reported that ground was shaking for 2 mins). And being a civil engineer by training i know that based on the construction and materials used in kolkata a two min earthquake would have caused much havoc and utter destruction. But i kept quiet and did not challenge as i know it does not help anyone 🙂

  5. By Sanghamitra Saha on

    Rajib u’r parents are not the only one – my mom said that at first she thought she was having another stroke and tried as hard as possible to hold on the chair she was sitting on to prevent a fall …but finally realized that it was not her head but the ground that was rocking !!!

  6. By Sibapriya Dasgupta on

    Suppose this incident had occurred a few months later when you were visiting your ailing parents. ” This tectonic shift could not even shake a single hair on my head”Rajib Roy would have reported back to Sharmila!
    My condolences to all those who have lost their near and dear ones!


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