Moti Krishna Tuladhar, 96
PICS: MIN RATNA BAJRACHARYA
I was 19, and on the way to the temple I had a premonition something bad would happen that day. The goddess looked gloomy. At 1pm I was outside my house in Bhotahiti. The ground began to shake, I was paralysed. Buildings fell like houses made of cards. People rushed out screaming. Our two-storeyed house collapsed, but my mother and aunt had a close escape. They had come down to the first floor when the roof came down. We ran to the open space near Tundikhel, there were heaps of rubble everyhwere. A vendor from Thimi was buried for four days and was rescued when people heard his cries.
Things changed after the quake. Before, no one touched anyone's property even if it was left unattended. But after the quake, cases of theft became more common. The Ranas heard out such cases under a tree in Tundikhel and sent the guilty to jail.
Mukunda Bahadur Shrestha, 83
It was a bright sunny day and I was six, and playing in the garden with friends outside my house in Ombahal. Suddenly, the garden wall collapsed and the ground started shaking. After the tremors stopped, we ran to a courtyard, it was utter chaos. People were shouting. Many houses had collapsed, there was thick cloud of dust rising into the sky and it became dark. I remember my mother and aunts pressing the ground with their fingers, a Newari custom believed to stop the quakes. The ground had opened up in Tundikhel, and there were cracks everywhere.
Purna Man Kapali, 87
There was a 'jankhu puja' and we followed the procession with a chariot to Ye Bahal. Suddenly we heard a deep rumble from underground. There was a cloud of black dust rising up from Jawalakhel side. The people in the procession dropped their drums and ran off, leaving the woman crying in her chariot. I ran home in a state of panic. The house was damaged but the family made it out. The Hari Shankar Temple near Patko had collapsed and six children playing marbles nearby were buried under it. Some were crushed by the collapsing Taleju Temple. The square was unrecognisable. We lived outdoors for days in the cold before we moved back into the house.
Khadga Kumari Thapa, 86
When the earthquake hit, we ran out through a narrow passage, but many were crushed by a falling building. Fourteen people in our house were killed. When the police came, Muwa and I were the only ones saved, because she hugged me to cushion the impact. She survived, but her hips were crushed and she suffered a lot for five years before she died.
A relative had just given her hungry son some chiura. He ran into their home just as the quake struck, bringing down the house. When they pulled the boy out from under the rubble, his mouth was still full of food. He was hungry but he didn't even get to swallow the food his mother had given him.