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A Nepal newborn's name in earthquake relief camp is cause for joy

He survived a massive earthquake that pummelled his home and endured the cold nights in squalid campsites, but 11-day-old Bhupinder Karki is not only thriving but also perhaps enjoying his newfound celebrity status at Nepal’s biggest camp for quake survivors.

world Updated: May 02, 2015 02:00 IST
Krittivas Mukherjee
Newborn-baby-Bhupender-at-his-a-naamkaran-ceremony-at-their-refugee-camp-in-Tundikhel-grounds-in-Kathmandu-Gurinder-Osan-HT-Photo
Newborn-baby-Bhupender-at-his-a-naamkaran-ceremony-at-their-refugee-camp-in-Tundikhel-grounds-in-Kathmandu-Gurinder-Osan-HT-Photo

He survived a massive earthquake that pummelled his home and endured the cold nights in squalid campsites, but 11-day-old Bhupender Karki is not only thriving but also perhaps enjoying his newfound celebrity status at Nepal’s biggest camp for quake survivors.

In keeping with a Nepali custom, the newborn’s naming ceremony was conducted on Friday, the eleventh day after birth, with a priest chanting hymns and putting a black ‘tika’ on the baby boy’s forehead and a red-and-yellow thread around his wrist.

Wrapped in a pink blanket, the baby slept through the ceremony. After the rituals, the priest distributed ‘puri’ and banana as ‘prasad’.



“You can call him Ramesh,” the priest told the baby’s parents. The parents had earlier told HT they would like a name linking him to the earthquake.



“We have decided to call him Bhupender (king of the earth),” said Bhagwati Karki, the baby’s aunt.



After the ceremony the family sat down for a meal of rice and curry.

The baby was only four days old when the bone-shaking temblor hit, forcing his parents, a sister and an aunt out of their damaged home in a middleclass neighbourhood in capital Kathmandu.

“He was still in hospital. When the earthquake came his cradle started swinging. We picked him up and hid under the staircase,” said Tekbahadur Karki, the baby’s grandfather.

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The newborn with parents Balram Karki and mother Munna Karki at the ceremony. (Gurinder Osan/ HT Photo)

Since then the family has moved through a couple of camps, finally settling down four days ago inside a crammed, blue tent alongside thousands of other survivors at Tundikhel in the heart of Kathmandu.

At the camp, Ramesh is the centre of attraction for children and women who streamed in through the day to see the baby who is beating the odds of a squalid camp life.

“What a first few days of his life! He is a lucky child,” said Suresh Thapa, who lives in a tent next to the Karki’s.

Ramesh’s is one of the many stories to emerge after the devastating earthquake.

Earlier this week, a five-month-old baby was pulled out alive from rubble 22 hours after the quake. A photo of Nepali soldiers lifting the boy, caked in dust, has become the defining image of the disaster.

Read:

In quake-hit Nepal, victims need help to heal emotional scar

In Nepal’s biggest earthquake camp, another disaster in making

Survivors feel abandoned at dark heart of Nepal earthquake

Live visuals of Nepal earthquake: The disaster captured in 5 videos

Full coverage:Nepal Earthquake