Earthquake survivor Paranjape

Her cup cracked in Mumbai following Christchurch quake

She had taken a tea-cup with her to India before leaving Christchurch. On the morning after the earthquake, she found her cup had a crack – in Mumbai.

Coincidence it maybe, it is one of the strange experiences of the survivors of the recent Christchurch earthquake that has claimed close to 200 lives, and the property damage is expected to run into billions of dollars.

“My daughter Neha – who lives and works in Mumbai, has this personal experience to share,” Shirish Paranjape told The Global Indian magazine from Christchurch.

“Her tea cup – which she had carried from Christchurch to Mumbai – was found cracked/broken (and unusable) the day after the earthquake,” says Paranjape who lives in Christchurch and is one of the lucky survivors of the deadly earthquake.

“She had used the same cup to drink milk the previous night. She was astonished to find the cup had broken during the night (of earthquake).”

Paranjape doesn”t find a logical explanation to the incident. “Strange co-incidence, or an unknown powerful link – who knows – you decide for yourself!”

Earthquake survivor Paranjape
Christchurch earthquake survivor Paranjape with family and friends

Yet, Paranjape knows how fortunate he and his family are to have survived the most destructive earthquake in New Zealand”s history. “As a family, we were very lucky, thanks to the Almighty, to be among the small percentage of Christchurch residents who had electricity, water and phone from the very first night.

“When we visited the eastern suburbs on 23 February, the extent to the devastation caused by earthquake became evident. There was no street spared – they were all ripped apart in lesser or larger magnitude.

However there were positive signs of life among the destruction caused by the natural disaster.

“The common scene in front of houses was of small children – seven to nine years young, wearing cute little gum-boots, helping their dads clear up the liquefaction – using cute little shovels.”

The council-supplied water tankers had already begun arriving, and people were queuing up to get water.

The shaken city was fast trying to get itself back to normal, and help was being offered everywhere.

“The students of University of Canterbury, through Facebook, were ready with an army of 10,000 volunteers, to go to the residential areas in eastern suburbs.

“To provide hot meals to those in need, a helicopter company based in Rangiora (35km north of Christchurch) is making trips. The choppers land at New Brighton after a 10-minute ride, while the meals are still hot.

“A group of volunteers based at New Brighton then distribute the meals. The owner/operators of this helicopter company spent more than NZ$25,000 using their own credit card, before appealing for donations/ support.

“Shops like Placemakers contributed to this volunteer army by donating 500 shovels, to be used for clearing the mess.

“Residents in Christchurch, and other parts of New Zealand – began offering accommodation to anyone who needed it.” Paranjape too hosted a friend at his home.

“For those who wanted to leave Christchurch, Air New Zealand added flights which gave some 2500 extra seats daily. Not only that, they offered a flat fare of NZ$50 to any location in New Zealand.” Christchurch airport reportedly made their parking zones free.

“Petro companies such as Caltex are offering to refill two 9kg LPG gas cylinders for free.”

Some doctors waived the consultation fee for patients visiting the clinics. Even the council officers have been very quick to respond.

“On Thursday, just two nights after the quake – the rubbish collection trucks collected rubbish in the designated areas, as normal,” says Paranjape.

“Fonterra trucked drinking water from as far as Auckland!”

Paranjape was very impressed when Sir George Seymour College, his daughter’s (Shreya) college accepted her transfer request to their Auckland Campus. “When requested, it took them less than 5 seconds to say ”yes, you can start here on Monday”. She has already shifted to Auckland.”

But it”s not just New Zealand where Paranjape experienced humane response to the quake.

“A group of Muslim friends in Mumbai held a ”Hindu pooja” in Mumbai as soon as they heard the news of the quake.”


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