I was sound asleep, when the earthquake and then the Tsunami hit Japan. It had been raining the whole day, and most of the night, here in the New York area for sure, but that was that. I remember hearing on a quick weather update in the car last evening that a 'coastal flood advisory was in effect for New York City', and thinking what that actually meant---since the city is anyways an island--all of '13.4 miles length, and 2.1 miles wide at its widest part'! I myself live on the Jersey bank of the river Hudson, and actually peeped from between the blinds last night before going to bed, to see what the river was upto. In the diffused light of the lamps lining the boardwalk, I could see that the water was surely very active, and that the waves were lashing on the already wet side-rails. The darkness of the rainy night ominously beckoned over the river's width till the eyes met the patchily lit-up skyscrapers dotting the other bank. Even then I made nothing much of what I saw, hopped onto the bed, and snugly slept the night away.
I wake up to see the first thing in the headlines---that a major-major earthquake and then the Tsunami hits Japan, and affects not one, or two, but 50 countries! I immediately browse the weather map of the world, locating countries that mean more to me than other countries do--U.S. mainland, India, Australia, Hawaii--places that I know personally, or know that loved ones live there. It all seems fine there, but my heart just cannot give up pondering on the sheer biblical overtones of this natural catastrophe. Richter scale 8.9 just sounds so huge--and to imagine that some people actually felt it? And then I see that an unprecedented whirlpool was set off, off the coast of Japan. And then, as though the day was not getting depressing enough, comes the 'breaking news' of the U.S. West Coast bracing for a 'water-wall'. West Coast is dear to me for so many reasons----not only have I spent every spring-break there for the last eleven years of my stay in the U.S., but that it is also where so much of immediate family and so many loving friends live. I know, that I am probably over-reading the flash news, but the gravity of the whole event is literally sinking in news by news. How, in a moment, or a matter of moments, so much can happen---so much can fall and so much can be washed away. Even when I know many thousands of people are going to, so permanently, be annihilated or affected by this, I still need to salvage my day from this quagmire of soppy facts about the health of the planet--a petty concern I know, but a valid one nonetheless for those for whom the biggest Tsunami is still a news, and who have deadlines to meet an hour or day away.
When all else fails, we pray-I pray. We pray to find peace of mind for things beyond our control.