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STRANGERS ON A TRAIN

As the train chugged along lazily through hilly terrain, the man gazing out of the window took in the beauty with his eyes. There were just two passengers in the compartment and the individual sitting across had a faraway look in his eyes, obviously immersed deep in thought.

The long journey had begun to tell on the two co passengers and the window gazer obviously wanted to break the ice and start a casual conversation. “A penny for your thoughts sir?” he said. The dreamer snapped out with a start and replied, “Oh! Nothing really, daydreaming I guess.” “And what do you do sir? If I may ask,” the gazer said. “I am actually into Disaster Management”, came the response.

“Disaster Management? Now isn’t that a misnomer?”

“Why do you say that? It is a global activity with many people from all walks of life going way beyond their call of duty to serve mankind, save life and property when calamities like floods, earthquakes, fires or other such disasters bring death and destruction”.

“Of course, I respect the intent for sure, but it’s the term which I have a problem with. I mean it is a disaster because it becomes unmanageable, if it was manageable it wouldn’t be a disaster would it?”

“Well, you can say that I suppose, but disaster management is all about limiting damage, creating escape opportunities and offering urgent aid to those affected.”

“Of course, it all happens AFTER the disaster has already hit, so it is fallout management maybe but not disaster management. Or maybe you can call it crisis management.”

“Well, I suppose the first term that must have come to mind while naming that kind of activity was Disaster Management and it stuck”.

“I suppose, but I maintain that the term is a gross misnomer. In any case my station has arrived and I need to get off and get home”, the gazer said grabbing his case and his hat from the rack, “I am already late and if I get any later, my wife will be a disaster for me for sure, and believe me that would be one disaster which surely cannot be managed”.