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All shook up

Wednesday night’s quake provided Delhiites a much-needed diversion to talk about. HT writes.

india Updated: Sep 08, 2011 21:03 IST

Everybody loves a safe quake. And we don’t mean it with any irony.

Life is ordinary and a good tectonic shake-up can always stir things up — as long it’s just a rattling of the bed, tilting of the fan, a scramble to the door.

But when Delhi and its adjoining areas felt the shockwaves of a quake that had its epicentre in Sonepat in Haryana, it couldn’t have come at a more uninviting time. The day had seen a bomb attack in the city and many feared the worst.

But after the comfort of realising that this was an earthquake that posed no danger, Delhiites spent the wee hours of the night comparing notes about how rattled they were.

The quake also exposed a shaky aspect of the television media, which unlike us static folks in print, not only had to ascertain how big the intensity was but also had to keep the chatter alive.

Initially we were told that the quake measured 6.6 on the Richter scale and we duly felt the jolt with wide-eyed nervousness and pride. Then we learnt that it was a measly 4.2, which we thought was surely a misreading by the met guys.

Undeterred, television — and pardon the mixed metaphor — tried hard to milk the 10 seconds-long disruption and sought out experts who would tell them how dire it was and how close we had been from apocalypse. Alas, there was nothing dire to say.

So panic, a partner of TRPs, dropped and everyone had their fun midnight get-together at the car park.

The truth is that a quake that doesn’t damage provides the luxury of talking about it while leaving us unaffected.

Nature has a strange way of shaking us up even after we’ve been truly shaken.

But Wednesday night’s rumble provided folks something to talk about for a short while, making most of us temporarily forget the genuine tragedy that had taken place earlier in the day.