Make-shift relief camp, originally a cement warehouse in Ernakulam, turns into a marriage hall
Dubai: The adage ‘desperate times call for desperate measures’ gathered new meaning for Kerala flood survivors Sibina and family who transformed their make-shift relief camp, originally a cement warehouse in North Paravur in Ernakulam, into a marriage hall on Thursday morning.
Their radical choice of an unconventional venue ensured that the groom Subeesh, a plumber working in Muscat, got to marry in an arranged marriage set-up, before he exhausted his annual leave.
“Their marriage was fixed for August 23 originally. All the wedding trousseau, gold ornaments were purchased and invites were already sent out. But the floods put an unexpected halt to all of that and we had to seek shelter in a relief camp. But since we knew that Subeesh won’t be back in Kerala for another two years, it was important that we went as per our original plan,” said Santhosh K.V, the bride’s uncle in Malayalam, in an interview with Gulf News over the phone.
It isn’t uncommon for Kerala workers in the Middle East to marry hastily as per their native traditions during their annual vacation as they have work commitments to return to.
According to the uncle, the wedding which took place despite all odds went off smoothly due to the collective efforts of all the evacuees, the volunteers and the manning the relief camps.
“It was important that the wedding take place today as August 19 and August 23 were the only auspicious dates for their wedding as per their horoscopes. Had we taken the decision to wait after we return homes, it would mean waiting for more than a year till the groom returns to Kerala from Muscat on his next vacation. That’s too long a wait,” he added.
The bride and the groom’s family, whose homes have been under water for the last one week, took the joint decision to invite the guests and their new-found friends in the relief camp to the cement warehouse. There were at least 700 guests, out of which 300 were evacuees who had fast become their friends.
“All the volunteers, ward members of the camp and the evacuees were kind enough to help us make the wedding run smooth. It was their combined effort that made the impossible happen. The bride’s wedding sari was completely destroyed by the floods. But we put together everything hastily in the last two days,” said Santhosh.
There’s a Dubai connect to this unconventional wedding. A volunteer whose husband runs a Dubai-based event management company decided to put all their expertise to work to transform Sibina and Subeesh’s wedding into a spruced-up affair.
“Our hearts went out to the family who lost out on the wedding preparations due to the floods. We were volunteering in this camp when the bride’s brother Subin told us about how it was his dream to marry off his sister well. But unfortunately, the rains smashed their dreams. We just wanted to make their wedding day special as they have lost so much in the floods,” said Nileena Siju, a teacher in a school in Dubai who is now on a vacation in Kochi. Their firm extended their services free of cost.
The debilitating Kerala floods has killed over 400 people in the Southern Indian state and displaced over 220,000 residents and left thousands stranded in make-shift relief camps.