The value of time and life
I was attending a lecture in college in Delhi on 25th April 2015, when I received a series of missed calls from my parents. Sensing that something was wrong, I stepped out and picked up the phone. I heard the panic in their voices when they told me there had been an earthquake in my hometown, Kathmandu. It was only after my classes when I saw multiple messages from friends and family and watched the news that I realized the enormity of what had happened. My city lay in ruins, heritage monuments had collapsed, people were trapped in their homes and there was chaos everywhere.
I tried connecting with my family in vain. The networks were jammed and there was no other way to reach them. When the calls did go through, it was just enough to confirm if they were safe. While my family managed to relocate, there were many others who did not have the good fortune. There were several organizations on the ground undertaking relief operations but help was slow and there was room for more. My friends and I felt strongly about being of service to our community, and developed an app called Prayas to help relief volunteers connect with NGOs to offer their aid. We faced operational and technical challenges on the way — the most challenging one being to find developers and monetary resources in a limited time. We put in our personal savings and leveraged our networks to get some sponsorship. Eventually we were able to connect with a political party in Nepal to fund our project. We marketed our initiative on social media platforms and could reach out to several people this way. It was very satisfying to put our skills to use for our community.
While I am glad this incident is far behind us, and hope that it never happens again, it taught me the value of time and life. I have lived with a heightened sense of gratitude and humility ever since.
(This blog was penned by Simran Sarawagi from our engineering team at Clear.)