Nagapattinam: A couple lost all their three chilren in the 2004 tsunami. But in sorrow the couple, Parmeshwaran and Chudamani, found a new reason to live when they reached out to the many children who were orphaned by the same tsunami in Nagappatinam. Today 26 children can dream of a future because of the couple.
As the tsunami swept through the coasts of Nagapattinam in 2004, Parmeshwaran and Chudamani lost their three children. "That day I could see my husband and me standing both as zero again as we were in 1991, when we were married. There was a big question mark. My first daughter was 12, the second one was nine and my son was five years old," Chudamani said.
But in their grief, they found strength.
"There were more than 60 children who had lost their parents," Parmeshwaran said.
"After seeing the children I was crying. I could see my children in this group. I thought if they come with us, the place of our missing children will be filled. We got food from the camp and started a new life," Chudamani said.
With four children Chudamani and Parmeshwaran started their new home. Soon as the years passed more and more children joined their home, 'Nambikkai', which means a helping hand. Today the couple has 26 children to care for and all with a tragic past.
Helping the children dream again is a mission for Chudamani and Parmeshwaran, but the question is if it gets difficult for the couple who are in regular government jobs to provide for 26 children.
"Money is never an issue," Chudamani said. "Both of us are working," Parmeshwaran added.
Still living by the ocean, Chudamani and Parmeshwaran feel a strange connection with it. It's the ocean that once washed away their hopes and dreams.
"We miss them, it's not easy to forget them," Parmeshwaran said.
But it's also the same ocean that got them close to their 26 children. Parmeshwaran said, "People praise us that we are helping the kids. We are not helping them, the children are helping us survive."