This day, last year, I was in McLeodganj in north India, for my near annual hedonistic pilgrimage. With my friends, staying at an isolated guest house. After a late breakfast, I was browsing through my twitter account to see what was going on in the world beyond.

Earthquake in Nepal. That was common enough. But as more tweets popped up, it was clear that this was different.

I tried calling home. The phone rang out whenever I did get through. My heart sank and my brain was a whirlpool of negativity.

Finally, I got through to mom, and heard her terrified for the first time. She was fine, but dad was not reachable. He had gone out for a meeting, and was not answering his phone.

An hour later however, he was back. In his rush to reach home, he didn’t heard his phone ring.

I was among the fortunate ones. To have lost no family or friends.

Nearly 9000 people died (not accounting for many possibly buried without any trace) and millions were displaced. Homes, lives, dreams, destroyed.

However, in our worse, we saw different shades of Nepal. It revealed our humanity, but also our lack of leadership.

Today, as we mark the anniversary, we are reminded that humanity is easy to suppress, but lack of good leadership, not so much.

Many still await support promised by the government to rebuild their lives. 

Year-on, disaster preparedness is still a far cry.

Contracts to rebuild UNESCO World Heritage Sites have been given to the lowest bidder. 

Yet, after a year, a mega-reconstruction campaign has apparently been kicked off. 

I am tempted to ask, kicked off to where? Because, the media reported a similar story in January as well.

Well, the least we can do is wish ourselves good luck in actually implementing these kick-offs. Somebody mentioned, even in Kathmandu if people are still living in makeshift shelters, what might the situation be elsewhere.

Here’s an example of what’s happening in Langtang – a formerly popular trekking destination. 

Hope things change for good.

In the meanwhile, here are some pictures from a commemoration held in Patan Darbar Square today.

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