Rabbi Sharon Galsurkar, the OK field representative in India, was planning a family vacation in Nepal. What he wasn’t planning on was experiencing miracles in rapid succession.
The Galsurkar family decided to go on a vacation earlier than usual so that the children would not miss out on the Chabad camp. They reached Nepal on Monday and until Thursday the trip was enjoyable and uneventful.
On Thursday, they came to the mountainous area near Kathmandu. “Before setting out I had booked a hotel on a high mountain, which had rooms with very special panoramic view,” explains Rabbi Galsurkar. “However, when we reached the hotel we were told they were fully booked and directed to another hotel. Of course, we were very disappointed, buy my wife kept saying that everything was for the best.”
On Shabbos morning, the family finished eating early and decided to go on a walk – to the hotel where they originally planned to stay to check out the special view.
“We reached the hotel and started climbing the stairs – when we reached the second floor the entire building started to shake like a person suffering from extreme cold. I’d never felt such a thing before. Things went flying everywhere, chandeliers fell down and shattered. The stairs collapsed – we jumped over the ruins to reach the hotel entrance and leave. My wife was saying the Shema.”
The scared family ran back to their own hotel, which fortunately wasn’t damaged by the earthquake. Later they discovered that the people who had stayed in the rooms they wanted were seriously injured or trapped in their rooms.
After Shabbos, the family looked for a way to travel to Kathmandu, where their flight was scheduled to leave on Monday. It was nearly impossible to find transportation, but the hotel owner was traveling near Kathmandu because his mother had died and he agreed to take us with him. “We thought we would have to walk for the rest of the way but miraculously, the moment we left his car, a taxi stopped and took us to Kathmandu.”
The Indian air force sent planes to Kathmandu to take home Indian citizens who wished to leave Nepal. The Galsurkar family reached the airport – and found a mile-long line of Indians desperate to return to their country and leave tragedy-struck Nepal behind. The family decided to spend the night at the golf course near the airport. “I went to buy water in a nearby hotel and asked the owner to borrow some mattresses too. He agreed, but came with me to make sure that I really had a wife and three children and wasn’t trying to rob him.”
The following day, another huge line formed for the Indian planes. Everybody waiting there received a number. Rabbi Sharon saw that, because of the numbers they received, they hardly had any chance of leaving that day. “And then another miracle happened! I approached the person in charge to ask what was going on. He didn’t even ask for my number, just told me to bring my family and wait nearby. Within a few minutes and official came, checked out passports, and told us to board the plane! Nobody asked to see our numbers!”
The family boarded the plane and flew back to India. A few hours later Rabbi Sharon’s wife and children were at their home in Mumbai. And Rabbi Sharon? He was already on his way to a kosher inspection in a local facility…