There is no Christmas star outside Cletus Fernandez’ sea facing house. There hasn’t been one since 2004, when a day after Christmas, a Tsunami rolled over Azheekal village in Kerala’s Kollam district. The waves knocked down Fernandez’s house and took away with them four lives. Fernandez lost his wife Julie, daughters Ancy and Annie and mother Reetha. Of the 168 tsunami victims from Kerala, 131 were from Kollam district.
As villagers came together to rebuild their village after the Tsunami, Fernandez too decided to start afresh. A year later, his friend arranged a match for him and he married Molly. “It is our sixth Christmas after our wedding. I stopped putting up a Christmas star outside our house after the tsunami,” says Fernandez.
This year, Fernandez’s elder brother, a small-time trader in Kochi, has given Molly Rs 500 for Christmas. “Every year he would give sarees to all six of his sisters-in-law but this time he has given us money. I will go to Ochira town to get a new shirt for my husband. It will be a surprise for him. Ever since our wedding, I have not given him anything.” Molly also decides to make sweet Appams for Christmas breakfast and gets busy with Christmas preparations. Meanwhile Fernandez has other things to worry. “It is the fourth week that I have been going out fishing. The sea is empty, the boats are returning without any catch.”