I went jogging this evening! For the first time in four days. It was more of a brisk walk rather than a jog. After a few minutes of jogging, I would always end up slowing down to a walk. My three-day old sprained ankle looked and felt much better today and I could no longer just sit around with my bandaged feet! After an hour and 5 kilometers, as I sit here typing this post, with my feet all bandaged up safely for the night, I sit back thinking about the night I sprained my ankle!
I was at a friend's room in Boys Wing helping out another friend check his camera batteries when all of a sudden we heard a low rumble. Robert, sat up from the bed "E.. E... chu chu!". I listened to the low rumble as I whispered "Lirnghing". My voice suddenly all little and squeaky. A few seconds later, the air-cooler started shaking furiously. I held on to the friend sitting next to me and squealed "Engkim, Engkim, Engkim" grabbing his wrist, somehow hoping the tremor would stop.
My first instinct,then, was to hide under his bed, then I remembered promptly that parcels and an extra bedding fit snugly there. Then after looking around and not finding a pillar to stand under, I rushed towards the door hoping to stand under it. (Aunty Nimri taught me that in Shillong where we had earthquakes every few months. Pillars, Doors and under beds and tables). But when I opened the door, all hell broke loose.
Half-naked men of all color, shapes and sizes, running out, some screaming, some shouting, some even squealing. I can still clearly recall Wangjin, a self proclaimed Naga 'warrior' from next door, looking around, panicking and suddenly rushing for the staircase.
I did the same.
I didn't remember much, but I clearly remembered pushing and shoving those screaming men and pinching Wangjin's back when he slowed down to run down the stairs. Someone pushed me from the back and before I could fall, I jumped down a flight of stairs. A rough landing, but I quickly stood up straight and ran for the lobby and out into the night.
It was all crowded outside. I found that Robert and Engkima were just behind me while I slowly registered that my ankle hurts. Robert, an UCC graduate, was used to earthquakes, I figured, until he told me he left his phone and both our cameras in the room. Engkima also told me that he ran out leaving the door wide open. I was tweeting about the earthquake and friends started tweeting back about the epicentre and the magnitude when I suddenly looked at a guy standing next to me. I laughed. He stood there. With boxers. And a pillow!!!
I remembered when there was an earthquake a couple of years back. I don't remember the date, but I remembered it was winter and I remember the stories. I remember a friend running out with a shawl, grasping her laptop under it. She was on the verge of paper submissions and she wasn't letting anything lest of all, an earthquake get in her way. A guy from a certain hostel ran out clad only in his underpants and a suitcase. He was leaving for America and his paper works were in his suitcase. I recalled a girl in our wing having a panic attack and breathing into a paper bag. But in every co-ed hostels in our campus, the Boys' Wing were emptied much faster than the Girls' Wing. I remembered how eerie and quiet the Wing felt after everyone ran out. I also remembered heading towards Engkima's room that night, no longer wanting to sleep alone in my room!
When there was an earthquake sometime ago back home, I heard of stories that even people in churches ran out mid-service during the tremor. I also heard people's remark "An piangthar lo ami le?" Which was the same remark I got from a certain friend after running out and spraining my ankle during the tremor. Which got me thinking....
If you were attacked by a madman with a knife on the streets. You would run away from him. No matter how secure your spiritual life is, you would never run to that man with open arms, looking to heaven and sighing "Lalpa, Ka lo haw".
Reflexes! Survival Instincts! That was what made me run, what made all those naked men run, what made the Naga 'warrior' run and what made those people run out from church mid-service. The same would make me run from that madman with a knife on the streets, scream for help or act in self defense.
Insanity would be what would make me run to him with open arms, not a secure spiritual life!
Still, I hoped that three nights ago, Engkima would somehow have the time to grab his laptop ( His instinct. He told me so), so that 5 minutes later we would have a good laugh out of him. But for now, I can sit back and laugh at my sprained ankle, my temporary souvenir for having a much too bold survival instinct. Jumping down a flight of stairs in a Boy's Wing?? Yep.. I call that Survival Instinct.