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One Amazing Thing Summary

One Amazing Thing is a story by Chitra Divakaruni. The story is about nine people that are trapped together in the rubble of an Indian Consulate that crumbled following an earthquake in San Francisco. While trapped under that rubble, the nine people decide to illustrate to one other an amazing thing that each had experienced, hence the name of the story. Uma, one of the nine people trapped in the debris, is a student who had visited the consulate to collect her visa with the intention of visiting her parents in India. When she hears the first tremor, she thinks it was a cable car. As she waits for her turn to be served, Uma can't help but notice the diversity of the people waiting to be served at the consulate. Among them including a Chinese woman and her granddaughter, an Indian woman serving as a receptionist, Tariq who is a Muslim-American, as well as a Caucasian couple. When the earthquake hit the city, they were all trapped in the debris of the building forcing them to gather whatever food that was available to them. Further, they use bowls to fetch water from the sink in the bathroom. The floor starts to flood and they have to ensure that they keep their feet above the ground. Further, due to the scarcity of food, they have to share the little that is available to them. Eventually as resources grow scarce, tensions build up and desperation sets in. Conflicts ensue among the men and Uma challenges every one of them to illustrate “one amazing thing” they have experienced in their lives as a way to ease the tensions.