You might be wondering how come suddenly I am talking about Tsunami 2004! The truth is when you live in Andamans, you can not escape a conversation on Tsunami, particularly the Tsunami that hit Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 2004.
Recently I met a couple that had a heart warming story to tell about their ordeal during Tsunami. The story is a heart warming one because it tells a tale of love, connection and prayer.
This story is set in late 2003 when a young man named Anish was posted in Nicobar Islands. His family was in Port Blair while he worked for a government enterprise in Nicobar. On one trip from Port Blair to Nicobar by ship (one can travel to Nicobar only either ship or helicopter; the ship takes about 24 hrs to reach Nicobar from Port Blair), he saw a beautiful woman travelling along with him on a berth next to his.
Anish was besotted by this young woman's smile. He tried to make some attempts to talk to her but she was reluctant to interact with him and was mostly reserved. Good thing was that she was travelling with her friend who was friendly like Anish and Anish then started to talk to her friend. These two young women were also working as teachers in Nicobar Islands.
|Sunita and Anish|
Anish tried his best to talk to the woman he liked, Sunita, a pretty, smart and confident young woman but in vain. Sunita instead held a not-so-good opinion about Anish. Anyway, the three de-boarded the ship at Nicobar where all three went ahead on their ways.
It so happened after a few months that Sunita needed a bit of help with her phone and she was directed to contact Anish. The two interacted for a while and Anish helped her but nothing happened as Sunita still showed no interest.
There was one thing very certain in all this uncertainty. And that was Anish's belief that he had found his soul mate. He was sure of his love. He was sure that Sunita was the one for him and knew that if he had to marry someone, it would be her.
When Sunita showed absolutely no interest in Anish, he tried to pursue the matter rather officially. He spoke to his parents, told them about his certainty to marry Sunita and asked them to contact her family.
The families spoke to each other and agreed on the proposal. Sunita's family now left the decision on Sunita who decided to do as her family pleased.
Sunita and Anish got engaged.
Few months later in mid-late 2004., both got married and moved to Nicobar Islands.
Then their journey of marriage started.
Three months into their newly married life and in December 2004, Tsunami stuck the shores of Nicobar. Anish and Sunita were in deep sleep when suddenly Anish felt some tremors and woke up. He woke his wife up and they both rushed downstairs.
As per Sunita, Anish was already downstairs while Sunita slowly descended. As she approached the ground floor, she saw the staircase being ripped apart into two parts and there was a huge usher of muddy water that immediately splashed onto her face. She somehow managed to reach out to her husband and washed her face with clean water.
They saw that everybody else around their place was standing outside at a common place and people were trying to figure out what just happened. No one had even heard the word 'tsunami', let alone knowing its meaning.
As they realized that it was a huge earthquake, a huge sea wave came and sucked everybody in.
The whole gamut of people standing in a group was washed away by that sea wave. Few minutes later, Sunita saw that she was hanging onto a coconut tree with the help of her maxi that was slowly tearing apart. In front of her at a distance of just few meters, there was her neighbour floating onto the water while holding onto a coconut tree stem. He had both of his young sons on his shoulders.
She says she had come to believe that it was the end of her life. She just wished to see her husband for one last time.
As the water receded, the neighbour walked towards his house asking Sunita to also come along. But Sunita couldn't as her maxi was half torn. She was still floating on the water and asked him to inform her husband about her whereabouts.
Anish on the other hand was frantically shouting her name while he was holding onto a pillar of a house. The neighbour heard his voice and told him where his was.
Anish immediately rushed there and asked Sunita to come out of the water but she refused. Anish then gave her his T-shirt and made her come out of the water.
They both started walking towards a house that had two floors and started climbing the stair case. As they climbed upstairs, they saw the dead body of their neighbour's wife, who helped Sunita and Anish unite. They heart skipped a beat at this barbarous sight but they climbed upstairs.
As they reached the first floor, they both hugged each other tightly and whispered that they would never leave each other and that this might be their LAST HUG!
Anish had just uttered the words LAST HUG, that another giant wave sweept both of them off their feet and engulfed them.
Few minutes later, Sunita could open her eyes and saw that there was water everywhere and Anish was nowhere to be seen. She was floating on the water, this time holding the railing of the first floor of the house.
In her own words, 'I kept holding the railing for whole 6 hours. My hands were trembling and as I saw only and only water everywhere I had myriad of thoughts in my mind. I couldn't bear the thought of being away from Anish so I thought of leaving the grip and drowning myself inside the water. At other moments, I thought what if he was alive and looking for me as he did just a few minutes before?'
Sunita watched dance dancing upon the waters as there were people and massive things being drowned by water. She saw that there was a Nicobari woman who was carrying a young, year old boy in her lap and trying to walk. But soon water took away her son from her hands and she kept screaming for help.
From the first floor of the house, all Sunita could do was watch!
Her hands started aching and her mind grew restless. She says she wished she could die too if her husband was not alive.
'I kept thinking that my life would be lifeless and I had no purpose to live for if my husband was not there. Deep inside I kept praying for his well being and kept looking for him.'
After this ordeal of six hours, water level dropped a bit and there was a group of people who had come to save the victims. They spotted Sunita and helped her to come down. They took her to a common ground that was relatively safer. All this while Sunita had no clue about her husband and at each step, she wanted to go back and snatch her husband back from the sea.
As she reached the ground, she saw her husband running towards her. Half wounded, half stressed and full in tears.
They both hugged each other again and in their own words, 'we hugged as if we would not leave each other ever again'.
Things settled down a bit and both of them were rescued.
Today, Sunita and Anish lead a very happy married life and have a beautiful 3 yr old daughter and Sunita is expecting her second baby. Post tsunami also, the couple faced a bit of personal problems like losing an unborn baby but their love gave them the much needed strength.
I had tears when I heard this story. I feel this is a story of the prayer that Sunita and Anish did each time they were taken apart by the sea. This is the story that narrates the power of marriage vows that both of them took that they would never leave each other's side in happiness and in crisis.
Theirs is the great story of love that makes you believe that LOVE DOES MAKE MIRACLES HAPPEN. This is the tale of destiny that when two people are made for each other, they are MADE FOR EACH OTHER. This is the story that transcends the crisis and disaster of Tsunami.
I wish all the best to both of them and wish them lots of happiness, love and peace and I pray that God blesses them with a healthy and beautiful baby!
These are the kinds of people who inspire others to lead a life full of gratitude, faith and love.
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