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 rescued miners. Having shared near-death experience for so many days has created a bonding which 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 eye-sight 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 cause for celebration.
Chiranjit Parmar was born in Nandi, Himachal Pradesh, in 1939. His future career was determined while he was in his nursery class. On his way to school and back, he would stray from the road into the jungle to look for wild berries and fruit which was edible but not available in the bazaar. So he decided to become a horticulturist.
After finishing school, he joined the Punjab Agricultural University and got an MSc. Then he went on to the University of Udaipur and got his doctorate. For a while, he worked in his own State University and then in the universities of Liberia (West Africa), Sweden and Japan. He took premature retirement and joined Indo-Italian company, which introduced Himalayan Yew whose leaves are believed to combat cancer.
Dr Parmar is a widely-travelled horticulturist and has been to 30 foreign countries. In 1982, he published a compendium of his research titled ‘Wild Fruits of the Sub-Himalayan Region’ in which he dealt with 26 varieties of edible fruit growing in the mountain wilderness.
He has recently produced a CD. He presented one to me. I learnt something about a subject of which I knew nothing. I feel enriched.
Great CW Games
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 now 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 all 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 too.
(Contributed by Kuldip Salil, Delhi)
What is common between Pakistan cricketers and Octopus?
Both can foretell the result of the match.
(Courtesy: KJS Ahluwalia, Amritsar)
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)