The factory owners were relieved. Political unrest in the country has meant frequent general strikes and a backlog of orders for them. They couldn't afford a work stoppage if they intended to keep their foreign clients happy.
The industry generates more than $20 billion a year, making the country the second largest exporter of clothing after China.
So they gave the workers an ultimatum: Miss work, miss pay.
The next morning at work, Reshma and others checked out the cracks. They looked ominous.
"The managers said, 'That's just water damage. Go back to work,' " she said.
She did, taking her spot among the long rows of sewing machines at New Wave Bottoms.
An hour later, the power failed. Then came a loud rumble.
Pillars crashed. Support beams punched through windows. Dust and debris clogged the air.
The ceiling raced toward Reshma. And the floors gave way.
"I fell. And I fell," Reshma said.
Then she blacked out.
Reshma crawls across the rubble with the little strength she can muster.
"Water," she tells herself. "I have to find water."
She'd found a little in a bottle soon after the fall.
But how long ago was that?
Hours? Days? Weeks? In this darkness, she can't tell.
The anguished cries around her stopped a long time ago.
The man who'd begged her for help was the last voice.
Darkness. Silence. Desperation.
She drags through the detritus, her clothing ripping to shreds.
She pokes bricks with a rod. One tiny space leads to another. Each an air pocket within the sandwiched structure.
She scavenges for food. The four crackers she'd found in the ruins and rationed carefully are gone.
What she really needs is water.
She eventually finds it.