Sunday, July 31, 2011

5D, a new experience

This Saturday, we went to West Gate Mall at Rajauri Garden and saw a 5D movie, SOS Planet. It was my daughter who wanted to saw a 5D movie. The duration of the show is only 15 minutes.
This 5D experience was new for me and also new in Indian as a Movie form. I have seen the 3D movies, like Chota Chetan and recently 3D TVs but this was completely a different experience. Children will love it. My daughter now wanted to see the horror show “the Haunted House.
The movie cost Rs. 150 and show timings and its only 15 minutes shows but it’s a thrilling experience. The experience become like real by surround sound, motion seats, spray and many more such effects to give you an electrifying cinematic experience. Sometime the animals faces came towards the face, some time when there was a wind, the air flow came in the theatre. Sometime during in water, the water spray came to my face, some time the chair went to half sleeping mode and few sharks came towards my face... overall a good experience. I reall enjoyed.. Wow!

Tips for your when you go to watch 5D movie, just enjoy it, be there, don't block your mind, make it free or if you want to become kid, be the kid, there is no harm... then you will enjoy more... chill out... shout.. no problem... have fun. When the show will be over, you will say that "oh finished!".

One should experience once, really amazing.  If you want to see the trailer of the SOS Planet here is the link:

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Luck or Miracle!

Do you believe in luck or miracle?

When I went to Kutch Mitra, a newspaper office in Bhuj, I found many people's stories about my book. One of them was about Lucky Ali.

Lucky Ali was only eight months old when he lost his seven family members (including his parents) out of nine in the earthquake. He was saved by the military commandos after 103 hours from the debris which was one kind of miracle and he was popular from that day onwards and he has been given name as Lucky Ali. Today is staying with his grandmother and his aunt (father's sister), which he call her mother. According to his family they haven't received any aids from any agencies or the organizations but today, the house, where they are staying is supported by their community. Today Lucky Ali is studying in standard six and looked after well by his grandmother, aunt and her family. This picture I have taken at his house in June, 2010.

The Lucky Ali, enjoying his schooling and like to watch TV. He is living with his grandmother. Like Lucky Ali, there will be many stories from different disasters, such as Gujarat Earthquake, Tsunami, Pakistan Earthquake, recent massive flood in Sri Lanka, where there will be lucky people who miracle saved their life.

If you know such stories, please do share here.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

3 Roses

There are many challenges and struggles faced by the Kachchhi people in a decade after a terrible earthquake that struck in 2001. I am summarizing a true story of three girls who were affected during the earthquake diffrently and different places. They met during at hospital during the treatment. Here is the one what I have discussed with them.

This is about willpower, courage, motivation and trust. I discussed with the girls who were affected badly by the earthquake from different parts of the Kachchha and came to a one place at the Bidada Hospital of the Bidada Sarvodaya Trust. They become good friends during the treatment but today are living their life very differently. Two girls lost their one leg while the third girl had spine injuries and due to some wrong treatment they cannot walk today. They were demoralized and one of them was even thinking of suicide, but the excellent long term treatments and the unbelievable motivation support by the doctors, staff and the hospital itself changed the life of two girls and slow improvement in the third girl. One girl is not only able to walk perfectly, but can even dance and won many prizes in Garba during Navratri and different location. She can even drive scooter too without any difficulty. Today she is happily living her life with her family and teaching tailoring to women. The second girl who thought of burden to family was received a love from a gentleman and motivated with that and constant exercises by the hospital she is been able to walk today and happily married with that boy. Even though she lost her leg, the boy never decreased his love towards her; he never allowed her to think that she is alone but continuously motivated her. Their interview was showed on the the IBN TV. The third girl who had spine injuries is still not able to walk and on wheel chair. The Trust committed to provide long term support to these girls as well as many others too. I am in process of writing a book where you will be able to get more information about them.

Same disaster, created three different scenarios, different struggles, different survivals and diffrent situation. Similarly there are many stories how people affected by the Gujarat Earthquake in 2001. Today after 10 years, they have lots of things to share, to tell, to express and to provide others an understanding of sense that they can do if there is a hand for them to hold, to protect, to motivate, ... and then they can do on their own.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A decade after Gujarat Earthquake

Today is the 10th anniversary of the destructive earthquake which had hit Gujarat, especially to the Kachchh district very badly. Exactly 10 years before the earth shook for almost two minutes and an unexpected disaster happened where thousands of people died, thousands of family affected and many buildings were destroyed. This devastating tragedy not only affected Gujarat but it made everyone feel in India that there was a dire need to upgrade the area of Disaster Management . Military, Police and other national, international organization got involved in the rescue operation immediately. Indian Government and many local, national and international NGOs, humanitarian agencies and news channels immediately came and presented the situation of people in Kachchh and the damage that occurred to the world. These organizations along with the other local, national and international volunteers supported in improving the situation of the affected people during the emergency period.

Kachchh-Mitra a local newspaper played a significant role in providing awareness among communities including accountability and rights of the people. There are some organizations which are still supporting in improving life of the people and Abhiyan is one of them. They are mainly supporting in livelihood, awareness and community development area. Today there are many people from Gujarat working nationally or internationally on disaster management field. Past one decade, Kachchh’s image has been overhauled. In spite of several miss-happenings and challenges it has been moving towards achieving fast development. (The information in this blogs is mainly from several documents and discussions with the Kachchh-Mitra, Bidada Survodaya Trust, Abhiyan and interviewed with affected people. I am really thankful to them for providing the data and sharing their experiences)

It was Friday, 26th January, 2001, the country started celebrating the Indian Republic Day. No one knew what will happen in the next moment. At 8:46hrs (Indian time) the earthquake of magnitude 7.9 struck Gujarat which was for almost two minutes and was worse in India. The epicentre was just north of the city of Bhuj which is in Kachchh district.

On that day I was in Mandvi, my hometown, and was about to leave for Bhuj to my office. Suddenly I felt shaking and heard a terrible noise. Slowly it started increasing and I could not understand what was happening. Then my mother said it is an earthquake and advised all of us to come below the “Umbhro”, a place just below a door. After this scary experience when everything becomes normal, my legs were feeling the shake for sometime. This was the first time, I experienced an earthquake. Fortunately there were very few buildings, which collapsed in my hometown Mandvi but we never thought what would be the situation in neighbouring towns. I went to Bhuj (60km from Mandvi), and shocked to see the damaged buildings, dust, people running here and there, some were crying in pain and some in the loss of their loved ones, some were still thinking what to do, some were sitting on the streets, some were trying to help others etc etc.. It was a painful sight. Most of the houses were collapsed and we tried to help whom all we can. Suddenly I saw one my uncle (Mama), and I asked him about everyone and he gave me a shocking news about my aunt (mother’s sister, her name was Jaya) who passed away. I don’t know how to react? Her loss added more to my pain. When earthquake happened, she came out of the house and asked everyone in the neighbourhood to come out, during this, a building collapsed on her and she died.

We went to get information about other friend’s relatives. That four stories building was completely destroyed and a rescue operation was going on. His sister’s family was in the building and we have to wait there till we get some information. His sister’s husband died in that building. While I was standing there, one woman came crying and asked me that whether I have seen her 12 year son who went to town in the morning? When I said no I haven’t then she cried more and started asking few more people. Similarly many deaths happen and many of you must know about the 200 school children in Anjar died during a Republic Day rally.

Disaster sees no borders. The earthquake affected everyone, poor, rich, men, women, children, old people and people with disability. The people who were rich, they were in strange situation. The previous day they were very rich and the next day they were on the road. They also lost their loved one not only the wealth. People, who saved their life, were having immediate needs such as first-aid, shelter, food, Psychological support, etc.

Emergency situation and recovery
Rescue operation was started. Mainly it was done by the neighbouring people, Indian Military and some international organization (equipped with the best of modern equipments). However, the, Indian Military played the major role in saving the life of people. Police has looked after security and safety of the people.

After the rescue there was an immediate need for First-Aid, Medical, food, shelter and psychological support. The government has immediately deputed the medical doctors and nurses to the affected area. Temporary hospital was also established by the government. Government, many local and international humanitarian organizations started providing medical facilities including shifting critical cases to the hospitals in metro cities. Within 24 hours, Indian Red Cross Society with the support of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescents Societies and its partners established an earthquake operation camp at Lalan College compound where temporary hospital was established with the support of national and international doctors and nurses. Many volunteers supported in taking care of the patients coming to the camp. Including many, a hospital by Bidada Survodaya Trust whom I had recently discussed about how they supported during earthquake victims have also played important role. Victims who had injuries, amputated, etc. were given treatment from the Trust, free of charge. Approximately, 30,000 patients were treated by them including food and shelter was provided to 200,000 earthquake affected people. The Trust members and Trusty Mr. Bachubhai Rambhiya, Dr. Mukesh Doshi (Mumbai), Dr. Samuel, Mr. Kubal and other staff and doctors have many stories to share that how they had worked day and night in treating the earthquake victims. They made the life of many injured victims by providing them with artificial legs and a long. They also have Jaya Rehabilitation Institute and Research and Centre where they have complete rehabilitation programme for the community. Similarly there were many existing Trusts, local charity organizations and Clubs in Kachchh who committed in treating victims of the earthquake immediately.

Experience of losing the loved ones leaves the rest of family members devastated and in this everything including the food takes a backseat. But the food arrangement was one of necessity to make others survive. Keeping this in mind many local and religious organizations started community kitchen in two hours of time only and took the responsibility to provide the immediate food. In Bhuj, Aksharpursotam Swaminarayan Temple approximately 12,500 people had food in the morning. After that nearly 27,000 people were taking lunch and dinner from the temple and the kitchen was open for almost two and half month’s continuously. They also started kitchen in Anjar, Rapar and Khavada and run them for 45 days. Sarvajanic Kitchen started by the Indian government for Anjar, Bhachau, Bhuj and Rapar and was continued for approximately three months and on average everyday, more than 1,00,000 people had food. A group of Sikh religion from Haryana also came with 700 people, 70 trucks, 70 cooking oven, 40 cook and one lack litre cooking oil and started “Langar” – i.e. food for everyone. They also started Tiffin services for the needy people. People or the organization staff who used to come for help also had food from this arrangement. Similarly many other local organizations were involved in providing food for the people.

Relief was provided by many religious, charities, governmental and non- governmental and international organizations. People also received temporary shelter, tents, kitchen equipments, dry food items from them. The government announced many packages related to cash, houses, livelihood and others, which benefited many affected communities. Some of them also had taken benefit from the temporary houses and different housing schemes also. The government announced tax free holidays and hence many industries and new business slowly established which has increased business and job opportunities. New town planning has completely changed the town and villages. As of today, because of new town planning new rules for the constructing houses announced, roads become wider and improvement in infrastructures, etc. The new town planning also had some reverse impact on few people as their houses have become small, etc. Kachchh University was established after the earthquake and new colleges such as medical, engineering, etc. were started. A state of art government medical hospital was built which is one of the best well designed and constructed hospital in India. The hospital is earthquake resistance. Today there are many industries and improvement of sea port can be seen in Kachchh. Many communities migrated from the remote places towards the town and now improved quality of life and better livelihood.

There is also a case where an organization constructed a colony with many row houses for affected communities in a village but no one moved in to that house as those houses were not accommodating their needs. They were not according to their culture and custom. The main reason was they have not consulted them while constructing the houses. They had not studies what they need and the community involvement was not there. These houses are still vacant today.

This can be rosy picture but there are still many families living in very bad conditions and still need some support so that they can live their life. Even some miss management also happen. The phases from relief to development were not at all easy for the affected communities. Their struggled cannot be described, but they only know it.

For more information about:


Bidada Survodaya Trust:

Indian Red Cross Society:

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies: