Posted by: Mojo Jojo | March 31, 2007

Fire burn, and cauldron bubble

Earthquakes are real bad things, take my word for it. Especially if they mean business.
My childhood perception of earthquakes was a little different from the real truth, though. More than the shaking and crumbling, I imagined the ground splitting into two and gobbling up everything in sight. At least, that’s what my early geography books made me believe.
My books also taught me that in Japan, where earthquakes are as frequent as evening showers, people built their houses from paper. This, I felt, may create hilarious domestic conversations… like this one:

Dad: Kwung-Choo… my son, get me a peice of paper, please. I gotta jot down this phone number.

Kwung-Chuu: In a minute, dad … (and, a minute and several ripping sounds later) Here, will this door do?

Dad (very angry): Son! This is the third door you have wrecked this month! The next one’s going to come from your NOTEBOOK!

No, but seriously … though I must admit that paper walls crashing on you during an earthquake may not hurt half as much as concrete ones, what do they do if the place catches fire? As far as I can imagine, Kwung-Chuu’s proud castle will be lighting up the place like a Japanese lamp.
Or, what would he do if the Big Bad Wolf decides to come and huff ‘n’ puff outside his door?
Now, I know that I have been making these conclusions without doing adequate research. For all I know, Mr Chuu must have treated his walls with some kind of anti-fire solution …. and maybe he kept a cannon behind his paper door to drive away the wolves.
Well, in any case, this post ain’t about Kwung-Chuu or his paper mansion. It’s about earthquakes. About the two quakes I had the good fortune to experience in the last 28 years of my life.
Why do I say good fortune? There are reasons…

Strike 1

The first one struck when I was residing in Gadchandur, about thirty kilometres from the railway track I had blogged about two posts ago. As fate would have it, I was in the bathroom – taking a shower even as I bathroom-sang a certain Mithun Chakraborty number.
At first, I didn’t notice it – it was more like a slight vibration creeping up the walls, the sort you experience when you’re on a bridge and a tanker’s passing by. But then, the vibration started getting louder – until I could literally see the walls around me shake in their shoes.
Even as I heard my folks yell in alarm from the outside, I stood on the crossroads of an awful dilemma. The question was: Do I run outside stark naked and save my life, or do I stay in here and save my modesty.
And as I stood there, debating the issue to myself, the walls stopped shuddering and the floor under my feet seemed to go back to sleep. And that’s how I managed to retain both my life and my modesty.
Indecision may have cost Hamlet a lot, but for me it seemed to have brought nothing but good luck.

Strike 2

My second encounter with the quake-guy happened when I was doing my second year (English Literature) in MCC.
It was eight-thirty in the evening and I was sitting in my room, reading a book. Suddenly the walls, the earth and everything around me started shaking … and I jumped up with a full-fledged war-cry on my lips.
Everyone around me was running for the stairs. And even as I tried to join the great majority and reach for safety, I slipped on a pool of water on the floor and landed on the floor with a resounding SPLAT.
When I looked up, the quake had stopped and everyone was standing around me, giggling.

But the real action was happening at that moment in our hostel chapel, where a certain firebrand pastor was delivering his evening sermon.
Now, the Bible has a line that goes something like this: “Though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea, I shall stand my ground – because the Lord our God is with me. (Psa 46:1-3)”
According to reliable sources, the pastor was explaining the meaning of these very words when the earthquake started. And even as the small congregation of students watched the walls around them tremble, our man picked the Holy Book and sprinted out of the building.
Maybe the Lord was trying to make a point there.
Ol’ Mac was so busy conversing with somebody in a phonebooth at the MCC maingate, that he never even noticed the quake come and go by. I can’t remember if Shain was around, then.

P.S: I must admit that the god of earthquakes has been quite merciful to me until now. But the next time he attacks, I hope he doesn’t catch me with my pants down…

(Dinosaur sketch: Courtesy


  1. till today i never knew your surname is jacob… or that you had a surname 🙂 grumble grumble can’t think of anything intelligent to write anymore. or anything stupid! i need to do something drastic… only i don’t know what!

  2. Great blog widges you got! Thanks for dropping by! 🙂

  3. haaa JJ…i remember that…he he.. and it was kelly who told me that u slipped and fell… i think he was more amused about u falling, than the earthquake its self.. and as for me.. yea..i was in a phone booth…deep in a conversation..and the walls began to tremble….but see…even that did not stop my conversation..i sat and talked through the rumbling… maybe if i died, i would die talking.. ha ha 🙂

  4. My first reaction: “WhY the fuck I din bumpp into yer blog before?”

    Man,you gat one awesome writing style and stating things..Love it!

    And I would also like to share one earthquake experince here..It was like in ma first year in btech..n Me n ma roomie were sleepin…n suddenly in early hours of mourning I feel my bed shuddring and trembling…But I just go back to sleep ..assuming ma roomie must have been je**in off…
    It was indeed next day I realised that it Wasnt god of Kaam….but god of earthquakes….

    Hell yeah..

    NIce Blog..
    You gat urelf a regular!

  5. Ha ha, Jimmy, if the next time the god of earthquakes does catch u with ur pants down, I suggest you do what good ol Archimedes did, although in different circumstances. You might end up gaining more than just your life, you know…:)

  6. hey jimmy you write well kid:)

  7. @Gopal: Ha! Good that you came to know about the Jacob part of my name at least now (though it certainly aint my surname – don’t have one.)
    Hey, why you so down, man?

    Grey Shades: You think so?? Thanks 🙂

    Mac: Yeah, mebbe you would :). Btw, hey! Was Shain around when the quake happened? Was he in E-block?
    Also, can you remember who the firebrand pastor was?

    Standbymind: Ha, ha! Thank heavens it wasn’t the God of Kaam. That would have been quite embarrassing indeed…
    And glad you liked the blog, man!

    Prem: Really? Don’t think I want to become infamous like Archimedes. And personally, I think he was just another exhibitionist 😉

    Senthu: Hey, thanks Senthu!

  8. What with your penchant for railway tracks, ghosts, earthquakes and insulted aunts; glad you’re still here with us.
    🙂 heeee..

  9. @JJ
    haa.. the firebrand guy was none other then BIJU ISAAC.. ha ha.. how an u forget that name 🙂
    and yaa…everyman was sure around.. because we are same batch.. and this happened in my PG years…so..surely he was around… but funny, i wonder where he was at that time… will wait till we hear frm the arabian horses mouth.

  10. Just a comment about the japanese houses.. the hiroshima bomb was so devestating because of this.

  11. Hey man… U r the first person I ve seen Whose fav book includes – The Curious Incident of the dog in the nite time…Me liked it too…
    One of thr very unique things I ve read…

  12. 3inOne: Me too, me too.
    But the only real danger was the insulted aunt 😉

    @ Mac: Yeah man, you’re right… how could I ever forget!
    And Everyman was doing his 1st MA Litt… I remember now.
    But the Arabian Horse’s keeping rather mum lately, I m afraid!

    @ Rohan: Ha! Is that true?

    @ Insidemymind: Yeah! I was totally taken over by the ‘Curious Incident…’! I liked the starting, i liked the ending … the liked the stuff in between… It was too cool!

  13. i think the mithun song had something to with the first earthquake. Are u sure u are not hiding something about what u were doing minutes before the second one?

  14. I was there alright!! And I heard all about firebrand pastor from very reliable I know its true..

    As for me, I was in the D block, in someone’s room, around 5 of us, just having the usual inane conversation. I was sittin on the the table, and u can be sure that my butt gave me warning! We all were out of the rooms and down the stairs in a flash..I didnt see you slip though jimmy!! But by the time we reached the open, it had all stopped 😦

  15. 3inone is right. it is surprising to see that you lived through so much. though i am not sure i will attach the word ‘glad’ to the musing.

  16. @ Seena: Well, let’s see. I was conversing with kelly minutes before the second quake. Don’t think that warranted an earthquake though!! 🙂

    @ Everyman: Yeah, has to be true… though the incident may have been a little ‘masalified’ for good effect.
    Poor Biju, though 🙂

    @ Rama: Ha ha. You better, you better. If I hadn’t, your blog hits would have been down by 50%.

  17. unlike u, i am not after the market. seriously how many things are u trying to sell? apart from trying to pitch for oggix every now n then

  18. Mostly deal in baked tuna and salted nuts 🙂

  19. 😉
    am sure u wont regret a hit on my blog today

  20. I had a funny incident with earthquakes recently. I live in a girls’ hostel, and at 4 in the am, my v staid, no-nonsense neighbour bangs on my door, shouting ‘earthquake!’. I leapt out of bed, and opened the door. She told me she got a call from her mom saying there’s going to be a major earthQ at 5 am, reliable sources etc. So we woke up everyone on our floor, and stood in open grounds for a good one hour. the birds in the trees and the stray dogs slept in peace. we kept calling ppl trying to confirm if it was going to happen, but there was nothing on TV or the radio. At 5:15, we got fed up and went back to our rooms. And nothing happened! The funniest thing was, it wasn’t even April fool’s day. On restrospect, I feel we should have woken up the warden. the more the merrier, right? (Sorry for the v long comment!!)

  21. @ Rama: There. I have hit it!! 🙂

    @ Fan: Ha Ha. Though it was a false alarm, I am sure you guys had the time of your lives!
    So, did you guys give the no-nonsense neighbour a spanking of her life? And weren’t you supposed to bring ur warden out if there was the possibility of a quake.
    Unless, of course, you guys wanted to slatttakkk! 😛
    And why sorry for the long comment? The more the merrier, believe me!! 😉

  22. we had an earthquake yesterday, i didnt even feel it!!! it is all in the mind, if i am a scared chicken i would be waiting for it happen so that i could start my annals of fear 😉

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