New Delhi: Amid the destruction, debris and deaths that have engulfed Nepal, one family living in a tent since the deadly temblor celebrated their seven-year-old son's birthday with a memorable party.
Aditya Singh Thapa's birthday fell on April 28, three days after a 7.9 magnitude quake shook Nepal, killing and injuring thousands and flattening thousands of buildings. Like millions of others, Thapa's family too fled their house after it suffered dangerous cracks and started to camp in a tent in Lalitpur town, with none of the comforts they were used to.
It was then that the family decided they needed to overcome their despair and give the young Aditya a birthday party he will always cherish.
"We decided to overcome the feeling of fear, anxiety and insecurity that has trapped us since the earthquake," the boy's father, Kashindra, said in a telephonic interview to IANS from Lalitpur, on Kathmandu's outskirts.
"No doubt we are all terribly shaken by the disaster and disturbed mentally," he said, speaking in Hindi. "We saw the birthday as a golden chance to show that we are not overpowered by nature's fury."
And so the party was organised with whatever resources the family could muster. A family member managed to enter their still erect home and bake a home-made cake -- since the markets were closed.
Potato chips and instant noodles also made it to the birthday menu.
"It was a pleasure to see other children join the party and help us forget our troubles and pain at least for some time," added Kasindra.
Manisha Karn, whose daughter is a friend of the birthday boy, gifted him a stamp collection book which she had.
"My daughter and Aditya are friends, so I ensured she is a part of the birthday fun," Karn told IANS. "These are testing times that truly reflect one's character, attitude and spirit towards life.
"No matter what, we should remain undaunted by challenges in life," said Karn, who too has been living a tent outside her Mount View Apartment.
Adding to the people's misery is the rain that has fallen periodically since the earthquake, hampering relief and rescue operations.
Karn recalled how she and her neighbours fled to safety when the powerful earthquake shook their apartments.
"There are cracks on the walls of our house. We have been managing with limited food and water that was stored at our homes.
"We gather ready-made food from our homes and then rush to our tents lest the aftershocks occur again," she said, describing the main reason why thousands across Nepal are refusing to return to their houses.
"Electricity comes for an hour and then it's gone, so we charge our mobile phones accordingly," she said.
"Life has come to a standstill. It will take time before things return to normalcy. It has been tough to come to terms with this disaster."