“In the midst of all the destruction, we saw the extremes of human nature on one end there were people who cared only for their own lives, and on the opposite, were those who helped others without thinking,” said Kritika Ajmani, a Mumbai-based blogger who witnessed Saturday’s earthquake in Kathmandu.

Indian nationals queue outside Kathmandu Airport yesterday. Rescue operations continued yesterday, following the earthquake on Saturday. Pics/PTI
Indian nationals queue outside Kathmandu Airport yesterday. Rescue operations continued yesterday, following the earthquake on Saturday. Pics/PTI

Ajmani was accompanied by Shubham Nag, both 24-year-old bloggers from Mumbai who had gone to attend the International Nepal Tattoo Convention from April 24-26. However, the convention attended by 2,000 tattoo artists from around the world - was cut short when the first tremors shook Kathmandu around 11.41 am.

Indians evacuated from Nepal deboard a C-17 Globemaster- III of the Indian Air Force at Air Force Station Palam, New Delhi
Indians evacuated from Nepal deboard a C-17 Globemaster- III of the Indian Air Force at Air Force Station Palam, New Delhi

At the time, the duo was at Hotel Ambassador, where they were staying. When they saw the lobby’s chandeliers shaking, they ran out onto the streets to see the enormous damage wrought by the quake. Ajmani, a Santacruz resident, said, “There were huge craters on the ground.

Kritika Ajmani and Shubham Nag, Mumbai-based bloggers, witnessed the earthquake in Kathmandu while they were there for a tattoo convention
Kritika Ajmani and Shubham Nag, Mumbai-based bloggers, witnessed the earthquake in Kathmandu while they were there for a tattoo convention

Also Read: Nepal Earthquake: The day the Earth shook

One of the cracks ran through our hotel, splitting it in two. Everybody was panicking.” She and Nag decided to head to Hotel Yak and Yeti, where the tattoo convention was being held. They had heard that other attendees were going to gather there and then go to Kathmandu Airport.

Also read: Death and destruction as massive earthquake hits Nepal

They had to walk for miles to get there, as even when they managed to find a taxi, the roads were too congested. “Our only view en route was total destruction. There was a public hospital that had collapsed and people were dragging patients out from the rubble.

The special forces were doing a commendable job of encouraging people and guiding them to the embassy,” Nag an Andheri resident recalled. They reached the airport hours later, and finally checked in around 7.30 pm. But the ordeal was far from over; this was when they saw the people at their most vulnerable, said Ajmani.

Most showed great lack of discipline and patience, and did not bother to help women, children or the elderly. “The authorities were calling out names of women, children and elderly who were to board the first flight to Delhi at 9 pm. But the people simply paid no heed and were forcing their way in.

They almost ran over a six-year-old child in the stampede,” she added. But if some were selfish, there were also those who were selfless. The child was saved by another youngster who got hurt in the process. A few guards and youths took charge of the situation and made a human chain, restricting the path of the crowd so people could board the plane in an orderly manner.

Ajmani and Nag eventually boarded the third flight which left Kathmandu around 11.30 pm, after experiencing the trauma for nearly 12 hours. Now safe in Delhi and looking forward to returning home to Santacruz this evening, Ajmani said, “In those 12 hours, we saw the best and the worst of humanity. We learnt the value of human life and to what extent one would go to save it.”