This earthquake survivor from Gujarat shares her story after sixteen years. And it is so inspiring!!

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Exactly sixteen years ago an incident happened which turned my life upside down. It was a national holiday, so schools were closed and I was sleeping in my room when the earthquake struck and shook the whole city. I thought it was a dream but suddenly my mom woke me up and told me to run as fast as I could. I could see everything shaking and moving in the house and people running here and there.

We used to live on the second floor…so my elder sister and my parents started running downstairs and I didn’t realize the seriousness of it so I was descending a bit slowly. While I managed to reach the parking area but there were a lot of cars so I couldn’t come out in the open area and the very next moment what I saw the entire block is came down on me. From then on I can’t remember anything as the big concrete slab hit my head.

A few hours later when I came back to my senses, all I could see was darkness all around with a red light blinking, horns honking, broken cars and the smell of petrol leakage. I was hanging in mid-air where my right hand was stuck in the window of a car and the index finger of my right leg was stuck under the tire of the car and I couldn’t move my body.

Meanwhile, I was very thirsty and saw water on the ground so I licked the ground just to quench my thirst. I wasn’t aware that my right hand was stuck in the window of the car, I just knew that a part of my body is stuck in that window and I have to rescue myself from it so I took a piece of a broken glass and started cutting my hand just to get rid of that window but it was very painful and that was the time I realized that it’s actually my hand which is stuck.

All my tries to remove the hand were in vain, so I started shouting for help and by that time hundreds of people had gathered to save the trapped but it was impossible to save us as there was a mountain of debris above us. Soon Rapid Action Force team with Fire Brigade and a team of other civil engineers had arrived to save me. As they started using JCB machines to remove the debris from above, more debris started falling over me so I asked them to stop that because all the slabs were falling around me.

During this, I saw one horrifying scene which is still very fresh in my mind. There was a dead lady in front of me and as the rescue team was removing the debris through JCB machine a big slab fell on that lady and her body was cut into three pieces and all blood was over my head. I still can’t forget her face.

Soon the rescue team dug a big tunnel to reach towards me, and at a first, a Sardarji Uncle from the military came inside to see my situation and then he brought the whole team with him and tried to put a jack in the car to remove my hand from that car but they were unsuccessful.

They decided to amputate my right hand but again there was a problem as the doctor said that he won’t be able to give anesthesia to me and would have to cut the hand without giving any local anesthesia. I said go ahead I will bear the pain but just take me out. And the next thing I saw was a team of doctors and rescue team tied a tightrope on my hand and amputated my hand with a big knife and I can’t even express the pain I went through.

It was all messy and there was blood everywhere and after almost 36 hours of fight I was rescued. The next thing I know was that I was in Operation Theater. After a day or so, I got back to my senses and I wanted to see my mom and dad, but my mom was also hospitalized and my dad didn’t want to face me due to my loss of my hand. I tried getting up but couldn’t gather the strength to do it and that’s when it hit me hard that at the age of twelve I have lost my right hand.

It was so depressing and I didn’t even eat and cried for days and decided not to meet anyone. Because at the age of 12 you think of things like, how will you tie your laces? how will you write with your left hand? how will you comb your hair? My school principal came and told me one beautiful sentence, she said that ‘You are God’s favorite child; you should feel blessed that he just took your hand and gifted you a new life.

These lines were a motivation booster for me and I gathered the courage to face the society and live a normal life. Later I completed my schooling and did MBBS. I have completed my MD in Psychiatry. Over the years there have been people who have been rude to me, there were colleagues who would talk to me in an insulting tone but again, there were professors and other classmates who have been very nice and supportive to me. And of course, not to forget the family and few good friends who always stood by me and helped me reach at such a great stage in life. From being stuck under the building for 36 hours to losing my right hand to becoming a doctor I have come a long way.

Any Message?

We, humans, have a tendency to underestimate ourselves. We are much more than two hands, two legs, two ears, one nose and one tongue. We are far more than our physical appearance, our mind can do wonders and can take you to great heights. Once you realize your strength and choose your weapons wisely to fight the battles than believe me, nothing can stop you.

~Dr. Prutha Desai

This story was originally published by Humans of Amdavad.

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Chaaipani Team

Chaaipani is a media platform to discover, share and act on positive, inspiring stories of people around us. Submit your story on

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Chaaipani Team

Chaaipani is a media platform to discover, share and act on positive, inspiring stories of people around us. Submit your story on

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