My name is Viral Dalal. I am an Information and Technology professional, a mentor, and the author of Choosing Light.

After going through what was considered a life-altering incident, I had no reason to stand back up on my feet, and I did. I stood, and I chose to walk once again towards the path of my desire. I continued to love life, and I continued to love the pleasures of happiness.

“I was found, alive, because I did not give up.”


I was a happy-go-lucky kid who absolutely loved life. While studying for my Master’s degree in New Jersey, I eagerly waited for the winter break, so that I could visit my family back in India.

Reunited with my parents, brother, sister-in-law, and my two year old nephew after being away for 15 months, I couldn’t ask for anything more. It was a magnificent time of my life.

The Rescue

Volunteers at International Rescue Corps, U.K.

The Experience

At 8:46 AM on January 26th, 2001, a 7.7 magnitude earthquake hit the town of Bhuj, India. It was the town I was visiting with my family. The devastating, and savage fury of nature lasted for over 2 minutes. It flattened Bhuj, the town closest to the epicenter of the earthquake. It was one of the most devastating earthquakes in India’s history.

Our building collapsed like a pack of cards. I was trapped underneath tons of rubble, in absolute darkness, inside a cavity that had less space than a coffin. I was desperate to find my family, and I did not know for how long my breaths were going to last. Lying inside a concrete coffin without food, water or any movement, and with a limited supply of air, I was trapped with my body, and with all the feelings that I did not desire. The only resource available to me was my own mind.

I was rescued after 4½ days from underneath the rubble unscathed, by the International Rescue Corps, Scotland. I returned to the site within half an hour to search for my family.