Citizens' Mail | Daily News

Citizens' Mail

Tsunami, endless agony

I am writing this as December 26 brought in great grief to me about the loss of life of several thousands of innocent people and how I escaped from that vast devastation.

On December 26, 2004, I, being an ex employee of an institution, joined its employees to go to Galle to attend the funeral of the father of a colleague. As the bus that had been organised did not turn up, an A/C bus was hired from Pettah and we left Fort around 9.30 a.m. As we had to pick up two of our friends from Panadura, we stopped there and while one of the friends was getting in, an outsider with bags in hand tried to enter the bus.

Our conductor said that ours was a ‘special bus'. But he begged saying that his house had been destroyed by the seawaters and that the fate of his family was not known. Nobody cared for his words and the bus started its journey. A few yards away we had to again stop the bus to pick another friend who was late and the same person rushed to our bus and stated the same story and this time very innocently pleaded to allowed in. His request was turned down again and the bus moved.

Having travelled a long distant, we saw some people gathered on a bridge and I said jokingly that someone had jumped into a river and committed suicide. Then we came across another bridge and there too people were watching something. I then said that since the boy had committed suicide the girl too had attempted to end her life in that river for which all laughed.

After we did some more distance, we saw some people running here and there and we thought that some people were still enjoying and celebrating Christmas.

When we were closer to Waskaduwa the bus radio was on and then we heard saying that Galle road was under sea water and therefore traffic was being diverted. And in a few minutes time it announced that about 30 navy personnel were downed in Galle. Only then we took the matter seriously and from the point of Waskaduwa we were not allowed to proceed.

Though a few amongst us wanted to proceed through Mathugama others discouraged us. In the meantime, or families had to tried in vain to contact us on our mobile phones and we too could not contact them.

The following day we understood the complete devastation that had taken place with a name called ‘tsunami'. The cancellation of the bus had saved us from the tsunami and even now when we think of that person who frantically tried to board our bus we feel very, very sorry for we did not know at all what had been happening in the coastal area of the south. Still, the pathetic scenes of him flash before my eyes when the subject of tsunami is spoken.

Oh, you tsunami, the greatest enemy of the world!

Nazly Cassim
Colombo 13 


 

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