He knew he had a brainwave when the thought first crossed his mind – the safest place during a quake! His confidence doubled when he said it.
“Steve, you guys all right?” his neighbor Dhruvas came out dressed in traditional south Indian night dress. He hesitated for a moment. “Are you leaving somewhere?“
“Yeah Druv we’re off to the beach. Do you want to join?“
“You mean because of the tremor and all. You don’t have to worry too much. It happens sometimes around here. They weren’t that big anyway. Besides I can’t be coming now; my wife has already planned for a puja in the nearby temple after the first tremor.” Druv winked at Steve.
“Oh sure. But I’d feel really good to be out for a while. Besides what’s better than a whiff of fresh sea breeze on a Sunday morning. See you then!“
“Good day Steve and don’t stress yourself on this.“
His neighbor had disappeared as quickly as he had come in. ‘Strange man, he was! Neither was he bothered about his life nor that of his family! Well, different people different perspectives’.
It took Martha just a few minutes to get dressed. Stephen took his car out of the shed and stepped on the gas. He felt that the church could be crowded with people during such a time and a quick glance at the entrance to the cathedral confirmed his notion.
He smiled at his own wit and sped away to the Marina.
It was Dec 26, 2004; Chennai was not the same after that day.
No one heard from the Stephens again…