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It was not a day of profound grief and remembrance in Parmeshwaram's life,which ironically also happens to be his birthday.
On that fateful sunday,13 years ago his family was in celebratory mood.
Happy birthday Appa... His children wished him
While his wife was busy cooking sumptuous meal for the family,he took his children to the beach ,which was just a 300 meters away from his house.
His daughters were busy in making sand castles and he was playing with his son.
His son shouted.
He turned. A high wave was coming towards them. All of a sudden it happened,i n an instant. The force of wave took him inland,near his house. In between he had lost hold of his son. He had no ideas about his daughters.
When he gained sense,he rushed towards his house. He found his wife in midway searching for her family.
They both searched for their children for day.one by one he traced them out.
He found his son. Dead,on a railway track.
A daughter,near a construction site with iron rods pierced all over her body.
Another daughter,in the bushes.
A man was pulling her body in order to take her out. Parmeswaram shouted
Wait!! She might be a corpse for you,but she is my daughter. Don't pull her like this. It might hurt.
And he went to take her in his arms.
They lost everything in that Tsunami ,which was dear to them including their children. At times they lost will to live.
But they were not alone in this ocean of grief. Their were dead bodies everywhere.
If they had lost their children,some children had lost their parents.
One evening his wife was sitting , emotionless,Dead in other sense. Suddenly she heard a cry.
Her husband was standing near the gate,holding the hand of a toddler boy. Parmeswaram found that boy in streets,crying,searching for his parents who were dead in Tsunami.
It was a start of new chapter in their lives. It was also the day seed that grew into Nambikkai was sowed.
Next morning they again went in search of children orphaned by Tsunami. That day they came home with two more children.
Today Nambikkai is a home for 37 orphaned children. Earlier they had three children to call them Amma,Appa today the has multipled more than 10 times.
Nambikkai means Hope.
Nambikkai gave them hope to live.
Exchanging of DNA is not the only mean to be a parent. The Tsunami which shattered their happiness,gave it back with interest.
For many years,they both were managing Nambikkai alone without any financial support form outside. Today,many hands have extended for support. By adopting orphaned children,Parmeshwaram and his wife not only filled their void ,but have set an example that it's our choice to hold on the sorrow,or to find happiness in it.
Life is awesome,then at times it's awful,and again it's awesome. The in-between phase depends on us.
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being,the more joy you can contain.