Are You Prepared To Face The Earthquake?

March 28, 2011
I wrote two  posts about our (lack of) preparedness for disasters and another one giving a brief overview of Disaster Management, as a concept.  I continue with the series of posts, doing my bit, in creating awareness amongst the readers around, so as to spread the word of precaution and care that a person can take as an INDIVIDUAL.  Let's take our baby steps towards knowing the dangers, the threats and safeguarding ourselves and our families.  Please share the post with your loved ones and show your concern for their well being. In this post, I cover the natural disaster called Earthquake.

What is an Earthquake?

An earthquake is a phenomenon that occurs without warning and involves violent shaking of the ground and everything over it. It results from the release of accumulated stress of the moving lithospheric or crustal plates. The earth's crust is divided into seven major plates, some 50 miles thick, which move slowly and continuously over the earth's interior and several minor plates.

Earthquakes are tectonic in origin; that is the moving plates are responsible of the occurrence of the violent shaking. The occurrence of an earthquake in a populated area may cause numerous casualties and injuries and extensive property damage.

Situation in India (In brief)

As per the current seismic zone map of the country (IS 1893: 2002), over 59 per cent of India’s land area is under threat of moderate to severe seismic hazard, i.e., prone to shaking of MSK Intensity VII and above (BMTPC, 2006). In fact, the entire Himalayan belt is considered prone to great earthquakes of magnitude exceeding 8.0, and in a relatively short span of about 50 years.

The North-Eastern part of the country continues to experience moderate to large earthquakes at frequent intervals.

The increase in earthquake risk is also caused due to a spurt in developmental activities driven by urbanization, economic development and the globalization of India’s economy.

Earthquake Survival And Damange Reduction

The damge of an earthqake can be reduced by knowing some simple and vital information about the place where you live.  You should know the following:

 - Whether tremours or earthquakes have occurred in your area and with what damage?
 - Get a map showing India's earthquake hazard zones. (see above)
 - Even if you are in a low risk zone, get some information on how to make your house more safe.
 - Check that your insurance covers earthquake damage.

Watch for Indicative Signs:

Erratic animal behaviour - Watch for frightened or confused pets running around, or a birdcall ot usually heard at night.
Groundwater levels - Watch for sudden changes in water level in wells or artesian bores.

What to Do Before an Earthquake
  • Repair deep plaster cracks in ceilings and foundations. Get expert advice if there are signs of structural defects.
  • Anchor overhead lighting fixtures to the ceiling.
  • Follow BIS codes relevant to your area for building standards
  • Fasten shelves securely to walls, as they fall on people during earthquake. 
  • Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
  • Store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass, and china in low, closed cabinets with latches.
  • Hang heavy items such as pictures and mirrors away from beds, settees, and anywhere people sit.
  • Brace overhead light and fan fixtures.
  • Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections. These are potential fire risks.
  • Secure a water heater, LPG cylinder etc., by strapping it to the wall studs and bolting it to the floor.
  • Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products securely in closed cabinets with latches and on bottom shelves.
  • Identify safe places indoors and outdoors.
    1. Under strong dining table, bed
    2. Against an inside wall
    3. Away from where glass could shatter around windows, mirrors, pictures, or where heavy bookcases or other heavy furniture could fall over
    4. In the open, away from buildings, trees, telephone and electrical lines, flyovers, bridges
  • Educate yourself and family members
  • Know emergency telephone numbers (doctor, hospital, police, etc)

Have a disaster emergency kit ready
    1. Battery operated torch
    2. Extra batteries
    3. Battery operated radio
    4. First aid kit and manual
    5. Emergency food (dry items) and water (packed and sealed)
    6. Candles and matches in a waterproof container
    7. Knife
    8. Chlorine tablets or powdered water purifiers
    9. Can opener.
    10. Essential medicines
    11. Cash and credit cards
    12. Thick ropes and cords
    13. Sturdy shoes
 Develop an emergency communication plan
    1. In case family members are separated from one another during an earthquake (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), develop a plan for reuniting after the disaster.
    2. Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the 'family contact' After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.
What to Do during an Earthquake

Stay as safe as possible during an earthquake. Be aware that some earthquakes are actually foreshocks and a larger earthquake might occur. Minimize your movements to a few steps to a nearby safe place and stay indoors until the shaking has stopped and you are sure exiting is safe.

If indoors
  • DROP to the ground; take COVER by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; and HOLD ON until the shaking stops. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
  • Protect yourself by staying under the lintel of an inner door, in the corner of a room, under a table or even under a bed.
  • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.
  • Stay in bed if you are there when the earthquake strikes. Hold on and protect your head with a pillow, unless you are under a heavy light fixture that could fall. In that case, move to the nearest safe place.
  • Use a doorway for shelter only if it is in close proximity to you and if you know it is a strongly supported, loadbearing doorway.
  • Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.
  • Be aware that the electricity may go out or the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may turn on.
  • DO NOT use the elevators.
If outdoors
  • Stay there.
  • Move away from buildings, trees, streetlights, and utility wires.
  • Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops. The greatest danger exists directly outside buildings, at exits, and alongside exterior walls. Most earthquake-related casualties result from collapsing walls, flying glass, and falling objects.
If in a moving vehicle
  • Stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires.
  • Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges, or ramps that might have been damaged by the earthquake.
If trapped under debris
  • Do not light a match.
  • Do not move about or kick up dust.
  • Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.
  • Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Use a whistle if one is available. Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.
After an earthquake
  • Keep calm, switch on the radio/TV and obey any instructions you hear on it.
  • Keep away from beaches and low banks of rivers. Huge waves may sweep in.
  • Expect aftershocks. Be prepared.
  • Turn off the water, gas and electricity.
  • Do not smoke and do not light matches or use a cigarette lighter. Do not turn on switches. There may be gas leaks or short-circuits.
  • Use a torch.
  • If there is a fire, try to put it out. If you cannot, call the fire brigade.
  • If people are seriously injured, do not move them unless they are in danger.
  • Immediately clean up any inflammable products that may have spilled (alcohol, paint, etc).
  • If you know that people have been buried, tell the rescue teams. Do not rush and do not worsen the situation of injured persons or your own situation.
  • Avoid places where there are loose electric wires and do not touch any metal object in contact with them.
  • Do not drink water from open containers without having examined it and filtered it through a sieve, a filter or an ordinary clean cloth.
  • If your home is badly damaged, you will have to leave it. Collect water containers, food, and ordinary and special medicines (for persons with heart complaints, diabetes, etc.)
  • Do not re-enter badly damaged buildings and do not go near damaged structures.

Finally, please remember that you can survive an earthquake and minimise its damage by being aware of it, and being prepared for potential hazards.  An earthquake will be over before you can do much about it.  Most people are killed or injured as they attempt to move during the earthquake and are sttuck by falling or flying objects.  Your chances of avoiding serious injury are highif you remain calm and take shelter as recommended.

Stay Aware - Stay Safe


Content Courtesy: NDMA
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Disaster Management - An Overview

March 25, 2011
When a  cyclone, or an earthquake or a terrorist attack strikes our world, we all start talking about the ill preparedness of the State in dealing with it or in other words we say the Disaster management was not good.

I have tried my bit to explain the various facets, meanings and usage of various terms related to Disaster Management used by a common man in day to day life ( to begin with).  I shall be writing about what to do to save yourself and your family and your community when a disaster strikes.

But, as a starter, let's see what the terms actually mean....

What is a Hazard?

Hazard is a dangerous event, natural or human induced that could cause injury, loss of life or damage to property, livelihood or environment.  a hazard could be natural, socio-natural or human induced. 

What is a Disaster?

A disaster whether natural or human-induced, is an event which results in widespread human loss.  It is accompanied by loss of livelihood, property causing suffering and loss in a definite area (Say a cyclone)

When Does a Hazard lead to a disaster?

A disaster occurs when the impact of hazard on a section of society is such that the people are unable to cope with the event, causing death, injury, loss of property and/or economic losses. An earthquake, if occurs in a very low populated area like a Desert may not have that impact as it would have in a densely populated city, hence here a hazard can become a disaster.
What is vulnerability?
It is the condition determined by physical, social, economic and environmental factors or processes, which increase the susceptibility of a community to the impact of hazards. People living in highly dense residential areas with bad exit routes are more physically vulnerable. People who are socially and economically under-privileged, obviously living in kutcha houses, or in low lying flood prone areas are more vulnerable.  Also, small children, women, old people are socially vulnerable group which will affected more severely than others.

What is Mitigation?

Mitigation, as we know is 'Any measure taken to minimize the impact of a disaster or potential disaster.  Mitigation can take place before, during or after a disaster, but the term is most often used to refer to actions taken against potential disasters."

How does Mitigation help the society?

Mitigation efforts help the people by creating safer communities and reducing loss of life and property.  Mitigation measures include enforcing strict building codes (in earthquake prone areas), flood proofing requirements, construction of houses away from hazardous areas etc

What is Disaster management?

Disaster Management covers the range of activities designed to maintain control over disasters/emergency situations and to provide a framework for helping people to avoid, reduce the effects of, or recover from impact of a disaster.  These activities may be related to preparedness, mitigation, emergency response, relief and recovery(Reconstruction and rehabilitation) and may be conducted before, during or after a disaster (Source : Living with Risk, UN ISDR 2002)

The various stages of Disaster Management

Finally, just would like to add that more emphasis in our country is on the rescue and relief operations and less on the preparedness to minimize the effect of a disaster. 

Dear reader, a big part of the northern India is in the seismic zone, prone to earthquake, therefore, to start, I shall bring out the points to be taken care of in the advent of an earthquake, the do's and the don'ts and the emergency kit that all households should have.

take care


INDIVINE LINK - Please promote to spread the word.

Pic credit- GIS

Seeing Holi Through My Bespectacled Eyes!

March 18, 2011
Last evening a friend of mine asked me what am I doing on Holi (An Indian festival of colours)?  I had been avoiding this question, but now since, her query is accompanied with a dream come true invitation for a grand Holi Party in a farm house of Delhi, with loads of fun and masti, read traditional Holi celebration by many family and friends along with rain dance and delicious snacks (yeah, we all get to hungry after playing for hours),  I cut a sorry face and declined the offer - courtesy my spectacles.

A little girl playing with Holi colours

I went on and on to explain her that how will I feel when someone approaches to colour my face with gulal (dry powered colour)... I'll have to tell him/her to wait, and then I'll take off my specs, close my eyes and let some colour of joy spread on me... and then I'll wait for a second to judge whether it's over or I still have to keep my eyes closed... huff and then smile and dust off some gulal and then again put on my glasses.  And I'll look so funny grinning that way!

She understood..... poor me.... she thought and after exchanging pleasantaries, she hung up.

For the first time I felt, I was missing something badly.... I was missing playing holi.... the fun way.  All these years the desire to have fun with colours and coloured water and ballons and pichkaris was not there, just a customary smear on the cheek would do.  But now, as the age is progressing (!!) I'm feeling like becoming a kid again.  And the biggest impediment between me and my beloved "holi ke rang" is my glasses!  Hey, by the way, glasses really come in between lovers when they want to cuddle up!!

Coming back,  I was imagining me playing holi the old bollywood ishtyle.... there is nothing that beats "rang barse bheege chunar wali rang barse" song of movie Silsila!! Ah, it would have been a real spicy Holi, if I donned a white chudidar kurta with a colourful dupatta, all set with the Holi mood (not to forget those kajal rimmed eyes and some lip gloss too!!) surrounded by family and friends, and the song playing in the background ( no, can't expect anyone singing that for me!)  and acted coy and vibrant like Rekha did!!! ..... but huff, for that I had to wear contact lenses, which I really don't want to do, as the colours can not just ruin my lenses but also cause me eye infection.

People wearing spectacles face a lot of trouble during Holi celebrations.  Even if they wear spectacles, the colour settles in the tiny spaces of the frame.  Wearing a rim-less spectacles on Holi may cause it to break.  Specially children who wear specs feel a lot of discomfort.  So, if you happen to know spectacled people (which I'm sure, you know many) be careful while smearing the colours on their face, and it's better to ask them before hand, or else you could even hurt the person with his/her own spectacles.  Specially be careful with kids.

Have a safe and colourful Holi !


PS: Also, don't forget to apply cream, or oil or vaseline on all the exposed skin to minimise the effect of colours on it. Keep you hair tied up and oiled before playing holi. The vibrant colours of Holi look fabulous on white dresses (Girls can try wearing white top and harem pants)

PPS: Pic courtesy this site.

What Is Our Preparedness For Disasters?

March 17, 2011
The triple whammy of  earthquakes, tsunami and nuclear radiation has hit Japan, but actually it has jolted the whole world.  Firstly, it is the suddenness of natural disasters and secondly the threat nuclear plants can pose in case of crisis situation like this where the electricity to cool the plant is not there and hence making the situation uncontrollable.  Japan, as of today, is dealing with it and we hope and pray that the situation comes under control and the citizens of the country get rehabilitated soon.

But, imagining such a scenario about our country India is really frightening.  The metro cities are so densely populated.  Illiteracy and lack of information as well as awareness in the common man is one of the biggest impediments in dealing with a disaster than may take place.  Not to mention the ill preparation at the authorities end.

But, should we just wait for the State, the authorities to come forward and educate us about the precautions to be taken, or should we, as educated citizens of the country, think about gathering information, forming support groups in areas of our residence (say housing societies, RWAs, local NGOs etc) to find out ways to garner support in case of a natural or man made diaster?  How are we preparing ourselves for a disaster?

These questions did hound me a few years back when I attended an awareness workshop organised  by National Disaster Management Authority of Government of India.  In fact, after attending this workshop, I searched the popular book stores to see what kind of books are being published to make the citizens aware of the preparation to face the natural or man made disaster.  Exposing myself to such information made me more conscious towards the possible precautions to be taken, and the kind of actions required in case of a disaster. (I tried, but still can't say I'm completely ready to face any crisis situation.)

The cover page of the CBSE book for IX class

I sent the brochures and reading material I collected from the exhibition to my son's class teacher, so that she could at least tell the kids about what they should do in case of an earthquake.  I live in Delhi, which is on the seismic zone and hence prone to earthquakes.  But, unfortunately, the teacher took no action at all, and returned the papers.  I guess, teachers are not supposed to expose 5th - 6th class students to such topics... I just guess that, I don't know.

But, much to my delight, CBSE prescribed an additional book on "Disaster Management' for IX and X classes (in social studies) . Thankfully, now, the awareness would be given right from the young age, the schooling days.  And since, I help my son with his studies, it was really very interesting and informative for me to read it.

Although, it came as a sad coincidence, while I was teaching my son about the accidental nuclear radiation and the explosion, he could relate with it, as the pictures of Japan's Fukushima Nuclear Reactor were there in the newspaper that day.

Coming back to the scenario of India, we know that the overall preparedness of our Govt and our people is not as good as Japan, and when we see Japan trembling at this juncture, we have all the reasons to pause and ponder.  I can not talk about what the Govt should do, but I would definitely talk about what I, as a citizen of this country would do.  I am not talking about community service, honestly, we people are so occupied with earning a living for ourselves and our families that thinking about doing some social service or associating with a NGO is quite unthinkable for most of us.

So, I'm only talking about being aware - of the geographical location, possible threats, necessary precautions to be taken before a crisis, identifying what calamity has stuck us, how to protect ourselves immediately, and what should be the further course of action.

Since, I had a lot of share about Disaster Management, Types of Disasters and what should be done as a precautionary measure and as a remedial measure, I decided to break this post into two parts.  I shall post the second part titled - Disaster Management - and Overview in 2-3 days.

Stay aware...


The Men And The Shikaar

March 14, 2011

Can you locate the man sitting in this picture of so many tiger skins??

The pictures tell the horrifying tales of shikaar ie., hunting of wild animals (here tiger) enjoyed as a hobby or pass time by Britishers and the Nawabs of British Era of India.  How can someone derive pleasure by killing another living being, just for fun?

Pic credit - Raja Deen Dayal Photo Exhibition, IGNCA, New Delhi


100 posts - 100 Blogger Pals!

March 10, 2011
I had been keeping an eye on the numbers.... I know, women always keep an eye on the number of the weighing machine and the waist size of their jeans.... for I, like all my blogger pals here, was keeping an eye on the number of articles I have posted in my blog since its beginning ( ie., in 21 June 2010).

My little son scribbled this for me on my birhtday card!
Yesterday, I've completed my 100th post, feels good.  But, I feel even better, as I've tried all this time to write something meaningful... something of use to those many people searching for information on Internet.  I know that at least half of what I've written is/will be useful to some people. (Of course, I write small little things wich are making me sad or happy or anything, at times!) I can say that with conviction because, I keep checking the search words used to find my blog on Internet.

Initially, I was surprised to read the search words, but later, it gave me all the more reason to write with responsibility.  It has inspired me to write the content which can be referred in case of need, although I'm way behind my goal, but I'll still try.  Just have a look at the search words used in last 8 months for which I had been writing :

my teacher hit me
my perception of world
what is a good girl ?
teacher punish me
child punishment
lonely life
a good girl is
home made remedy for black hair
what to do teacher hit me
my perception of marriage

These are to name a few... I've only brought out the relevant one's.  Although, there had been a lot of search for other things too.

Evidently, my posts on corporal punishment, marriage, live ins, changing perceptions of relationships, gender etc was being read and I'm glad for that.

Also, coincidentally, there is another number on my blog which has reached to a 100!!! It is the wonderful blogger pals (followers) list.

Anyways, coming back to blogging, I can only say that blogging has given an outlet to my thoughts and my expressions, and I'm deeply indebted to this blog world who accepted me, read my posts, wrote back, agreed/disagreed with me, gave their opinions and feedback to me, thereby giving a lot of their time and energy to me.  Thanks a ton!

Hope to spend more such creative time with you all!
I wanted to thank and say a few words to my blogger pals for quite some time. So, definitely in this post, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you, who have a mention below and many more bloggers whom I didn't/couldn't  mention.
A special thanks to

Prashanth (who motivated me to blog and made sure I stick to it!!),
Vee (who had been with me throughout, since he commented on my 'Dream' post. right Vee?! thanks a lot dear!)
Vaish (We haven't met, but it seems we know each other! thanks dear!) ,
Jack (Unlce, you always give your pearls of wisdom, thanks for  being there) ,
Niket (You have been there from almost the start of the blog... and I always look forward to read ur comment and views!)
Prateek Bagri (You're such a supportive person, often updated me with info useful to me, which I was clueless about! thanks dear!) 
Blasphemous Aesthete (love your take on my posts!),
Book worm (You always add value to whatever I write, thanks a ton for being there!),
Vikram Karve (Sir, your comment means a certificate for me!),
Desh (You are well informed, so a comment means, loads of info) ,
Purba (for your affectionate support always) ,
Harish ( Always valued what you wrote for me),
Zephyr ( Our common interests make us click!!) ,
Pooja ( Reading you is so comforting for me) ,
Nikhil Garg (We disagree mostly!!! but still we stick around!!)  
Alka Gurha (woman power, and excellent writer) ,
Vivek Chamoli (Really appreciate the time you give to comment on my posts) ,
Varsha - My sweet friend, she is!
Reema - a lovely blogger pal! (help me with the link dear)
Pratibha and Geeta Singh( u two are really a sweet heart!),
Addy - Indiblogger pal!
Subtle Scribbler (new reader, but I think we think alike!) ,
Victor Guerra (Love ur sensitive take on issues) ,
Rocksea (Really like ur pics and the write up is straight from ur heart!) ,
Arpana (sensitive, like me!) 
Neeha, Raindrop, Always Happy - Young bloggers! thanks! you make my day!

I tried my best, but think I must have missed out some names here, please forgive me for that.

Have a great time!


PS: actually completed 101 posts, but didn't have the time to write an elaborate post on it, so writing it now!

Of Power, Women and Booze

March 6, 2011

I found this picture to be a shocker.... well not really as we have known about women's exploitation through books etc.... but knowing something and seeing something are two different things.

This is not a photograph of some movie of the times of Nawabs... this is the real picture clicked in a photo studio of Raja Deen Dayal, the photographer.... This is the picture of power.

I wrote about the pic of  a nautch girl in this post... and promised to post something which will make you sit up and think.

The presence of girls (understandably nautch girls or prostitutes) and the bottle of some hard liquor makes a statement, when it's clicked in a photo studio.  It's a statement of power.  And why I say so, is because of the helpless expressions the girls have on their face. The attire, the sherwani, the head gear (pagdi) and the mustache of the men surrounding the girls, one of them holding one girl, gazing at her as if he is looking at an object of desire says it all....

This was a shocker for me.... I stood still for some time.... feeling the helplessness of the girls sitting there.

Pic courtesy here. (Raja Deen Dayal Photo exhibition : IGNCA)


Portrait of a Nautch Girl by Raja Deen Dayal

March 5, 2011

This photograph by Raja Deen Dayal is a stunner! See this for pic credit.

A plethora of emotions churned within me seeing this picture.  First, the terrific looks, the confidence, the posture - again confident and relaxed.  The magnificent effect of the monochromatic picture moved me.

If you see it properly, the face of the girl shows she is very young, may be 14 or 15 years old.  NOW, the write up next to the picture (which I did not click) said, she was a 'Natch girl' which means, that she was a professional dancer.... and I guess many things are said and unsaid here.... 

After I had gotten over the magnetic appeal of this picture, a thought strung me badly.  Girls her age, were not educated, and the families traditionally into this profession would encourage their daughters to take up the profession of a dancer, no choice here.  Thinking about the exploitation they must have suffered at that time, pained me.

And to prove the point, another picture waited for me. it said it all, I'll be posting it next.

Be there.


The Prince In Palanquin - by Raja Deen Dayal

March 4, 2011

I found this picture really intersting.  Also the write up about the picture was equally intersting... see the use of word 'palanquin' derived from the Hindi word 'Palki'.

Photo credit : Raja Deen Dayal photo exhibition, IGNCA New Delhi


Raja Deen Dayal Photo Exhibition : Portrait of two women

March 3, 2011

Simply beautiful

Recently, I visited the photo exhibition of Raja Deen Dayal at IGNCA, New Delhi.  I'm coming back inspired and, well, yes rejuvinated to a great extent.  Please check out the links to know more about the great photographer who has created magic with his lense.

Will be posting all other pics in the next posts.


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