She and her husband Krish had discovered by accident a couple of nights back that Chamirthi was his daughter, the result of a one night stand he had with his college mate Shivani. A strange twist of fate had brought Shwetha and Chamirthi to the same holiday resort in Thailand that her family had chosen to spend the holiday.
Shwetha was still reeling under the shock that Krish had an affair. It shook the foundation of her marriage and her trust in Krish was shattered.
This was a meeting that was proposed so that Chamirthi could get to know her “dad”. While adults were trying to make half hearted efforts to make the conversation ball rolling, Shwetha could see that the children were getting along like a house on fire. She also could feel the heat from the simmering fire between her husband and Shivani. She turned towards the sea to hide her tear filled eyes.
What she saw alarmed her. The sea was receding. She vaguely remembered studying something about receding seas ………… and tsunamis in some book a few months back. Just for a second she froze in her tracks looking at the brown carpet covered with fine sand, pebbles and small rocks that was now revealed to the eyes of men.
She screamed,”Krish the sea………….” and ran towards her son. From the corner of her eyes she could see Shwetha and Krish reach out to each other before they also started towards the children.
Shwetha who had a head start reached the children before them. It was pure reflex that made her to gather both the children to her. She hugged both the children to her in a death grip. Rohan’s startled “Mom what……..” Or Chamirthi’s startled gasp went unheeded.
“Don’t let go”, she screamed to them before a huge wave crashed into them.
It was as if nature was venting the fury that she was going through. She could hear cries of people around her.
She shook the water from her eyes to see one of her hands were empty to realise that Rohan was missing.
She searched frantically for Rohan around her, while a crying Chamirthi screamed for her mother again and again. A few feet away from her she could see a bright red colour, the colour of the T-shirt that Rohan was wearing. She waddled through the chest deep water ignoring the pain that was gnawing their way through her entire body.
Her movements were frantic and the few feet felt like miles and miles altogether. She grabbed the fabric and was relieved for a second to see that it was her son.
With a super human effort she dragged the unconscious Rohan to her.
She instructed Chamirthi to cling to her neck and frantically tied Rohan and Chamirthi to her with her dhuppatta which was still around her neck. The wet material and weight of the two children did not make it easy for her.
After accomplishing that feat, she looked around for Krish and Shivani but could not find them any where.
She looked around her and saw a man clinging on to a drifting wood. He was gesturing her towards him.
Shwetha tried to wade through the chest high water towards the man, but he was drifting away. The few feet that separated them now felt like a million miles away. She lost track of the time. While the nature was wrecking havoc on humans her husband’s betrayal was wrecking havoc on her emotions and beliefs. She looked down at the innocent face of her husband’s and his lover’s child. Though the tears have dried up in her eyes, it was filled with fear. She looked down at her son who had regained consciousness. Though he was scarred there was hope in his eyes, the hope that his mother was there with him.
An iron resolve spread through her as she hugged the children more protectively to her. Let nature throw whatever it wants at her she was not going to give up without a fight.
The man who was drifting away was gesturing frantically at her. Shwetha did not know what he was trying to say but the frantic gestures instilled a sense of urgency in her, hinting her that may be the worse was yet to come.
Luck favoured her at that time as she came upon a tree, with the heavy burden of the children, with her son helping her along the way she climbed up the tree. With every inch she climbed she lost a foot. The tightening of Chamirthi’s hand around her neck conveyed the urgency to her.
It was an awesome spectacle to watch to see Mother Nature in her elements. The water had risen up to almost thirty feet. She was looking down upon mere mortals.
“Chamirthi, Rohan hold on to me. Whatever happens don’t let go”, saying so Shwetha tried to hold on to the tree with one hand and with the other hand trying to hug both the children. Not a moment too soon the humongous waves crashed on to her tearing her away from the tree. Shwetha went under but held on to her children in a death grip. It was like riding on the roller coaster without wearing your seat belt. It felt as if her lungs would burst and her arms would be torn from her sockets, but with iron determination she held on.
When she felt she could bear no more she broke out of water and she saw that she was carried inland. She could see trees, buildings, cars, people and dead bodies drifting away.
She still had her children with her. She did not know how long she drifted away where one child looked at her with hope and another with a vacant look.
After what felt like millions of aeons, a couple of hours later she was rescued. There was no news of Krish or Shivani.
So much destruction and devastation but the will of a mother prevailed. She survived the tsunami and she will survive the tsunami of emotions the day had brought forth. She had faced death and survived; what are betrayal and emotions compared to that.