Triumph of human ingenuity

Buried more than 2,000 feet under the earth for more than two months, if I were trapped like the Chilean miners, I would have cut an artery and bled to death. Khushwant Singh writes.

columns Updated: Oct 31, 2010 01:21 IST
Khushwant Singh
Khushwant Singh
Hindustan Times

Public around the globe, including those who have no idea where Chile is on the map of the world, identified themselves with the 33 miners buried more than 2,000 feet under the earth looking for copper and gold for over two months. Like everyone else I brooded over what I would have done if I had found myself in a similar predicament: trapped in limited space, running short of potable water, air stinking of urine and shit.

One of survivors said he found himself alternatively with God and the Devil. Since I do not believe in one or the other, I would have tried to end the ordeal as quickly as I could. Since a capsule of cyanide would not be available, I would have cut one of my arteries and bled to death in a matter of minutes — a quick exit is preferable to lingering in agony for weeks.

However, human ingenuity triumphed against all odds. Scientists from NASA were able to locate the exact spot under which the miners were buried. They drilled holes through solid rock to reach them. They sent capsules of food, water and medicines. Above all, they enabled them to communicate with their relatives and the rest of the world. Ultimately, they lowered cages and lifted them from the bowels of the earth to the land of sunshine and fresh air. It was as great a man-made miracle as the world has ever seen — pulling out humans from the jaws of death.

What remains to be done is the rehabilitation of the miners. Having shared a near-death experience for so many days has created a bonding that has to be maintained for their mental health. This is the advice given by many psychiatrists. There may be other problems. Having lived in the dark for over two months, their eyesight will have to be kept under observation so also their skins which remained unexposed to daylight and fresh air. I have no doubt doctors will be able to cope with all likely ailments. It is as great a triumph of human prowess as we have seen in recent times. And a cause for celebration.

Revisit the Great Indian Commonwealth trick

Now that so many medals have been won
And it has been such great fun
Nothing in the matter needs to be done
Why speak of the misdeeds of OC.
And their alleged loot of the country
Are Kalmadi and Co not the architects of India's sporting history? And our victory!
What have the players, the wrestlers and the shooters done?
It is the organisers who have all the medals won!
Shouldn't the grand opening function
Put a closure to cases of corruption?
Tickets sold out, stadia empty
Another feather in the cap of the committee?
And shouldn't the closing ceremony
Get them Bharat Ratna and some more money?
The government must give them their due
And make them all governors to.
(Contributed by Kuldip Salil, Delhi)

Pak Kirkit
What was common between Pakistan cricketers and the late octopus Paul?
Both could foretell the result of the match.

The Almighty 'E'

One spelling mistake can destroy your life!
A husband wrote a message to his wife on his business trip and forgot to add 'e' at the end of a word…

"I'm having such a wonderful time! Wish you were her…
(Contributed by Vipin Buckshey, Delhi)

The views expressed are personal.

First Published: Oct 30, 2010 22:49 IST