Melrit

I am Melrit from Idinthakarai village near the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant. I grew up near the sea in my home village called Chinnamuttom on the Kanyakumari coast. I came here as a young bride and since then this place has been my home. I have had my 3 children and my youngest daughter studies in the Higher Secondary School in this place.

My life has taken a turn ever since the news of the Nuclear Power Plant being operational reached our ears and eyes. We see it in the horizon and after experiencing the Tsunami waves we are scared to be near this. The Fukushima disaster along with the deafening noise of the trail run in this KKNPP set us thinking about the magnitude of the disaster. Ever since then, we have all been in the forefront of the movement against the KKNPP. I was afraid to speak out an year back. But the need to tell the world about what we are being subjected to made me go to Kolkata, Delhi and Chennai with the message from this tiny village.

Yesterday was a special day for us. October 8th- just a month back on September 9th and 10th , the Police attacked our peaceful gathering on the beach and caught us unawares. On September 13th while we all got into the sea and showed our protest, we were surrounded by the Coast guards and also the aircraft. While feeling the sea that day, I felt calm and reassured. Except for the unexpected loss of our dear Sahayam that day, we all felt that standing in the waters was the best way that we children of the ocean could show our determination not to let this nuclear power plant be opened here.

As soon as the decision was taken to siege the KKNPP from the sea with boats, I decided to join the men in one of the boats. All the women were either on the seashore or in the Samara Pandal. But I wanted to be out in the sea. Why? Because for me , the sea is like my mother’s home. I feel like a child there. Why does one go to a mother? Or when does one think of your mother’s home? It is when you are happy or sad, joyful or stressed that being near your own mother matters. For me the sea is one such home- my thai veedu (thai= mother; veedu= home). I can laugh and cry, shout and rejoice , sleep and wake up here like in a mother’s home. There are no restrictions and dos and don’t’s if there is true love and trust. I feel so with the sea, near and in the sea. That is why I asked the boys who are like my own children to take me along. It was some of the most precious moments in my life.

I forgot the pain of missing my dear friend Xavieramma, Sundari and Selvi who are still in jail. I forgot the tears of Chellamma who lost her brother and the sorrow of Sahayam’s children. I forgot the painful sight of the broken Statue of Mary and the desecration of the village Church. I forgot the anguish of the mothers and wives of all brothers who were taken away brutally that day. I forgot thirst, hunger, fear and anxiety even though we went very near the source of all this insecure state. It was as if the sea listened to all my pains and consoled me. The waves that gently rocked the boat on the hot afternoon seemed to be telling me something. Like your own mother who would patiently listen to you, cajole you to talk more and after a long time when you have become calm, give you a consoling reply. I have not got this strength and health with Complan and Horlicks. I have grown up in this wind and sun, eating the bounties of the ocean. The sea was to me all that as I stood watching the hundreds of boats that came to surround the KKNPP in maybe one of the most peaceful of sieges that the world has seen in recent times.

As I stood on the boat, I remembered the demands that we had put across this time to the authorities and the world

  1. To let go of the sisters and brothers locked up with unfair charges since September 10th 2012.
  2. To withdraw all police force from the villages and reinstate normal life
  3. To close the KKNPP and convert it into a nature- people friendly energy production centre.

I thought of our dedication and commitment to lead a safe, secure life. I also cherish the fact that none of us want to move away from the sea and our traditional livelihood. When we realize that the KKNPP will release water at temperatures that will harm life in the ocean , we feel that our mother is being desecrated. We cannot tolerate this. Because the sea is our mother, the sea is like our mother’s home. And we will not let it be killed .

That is why I went on the boat yesterday to tell my mother that we will take care of her. We will not rest till the KKNPP is closed.

October 9,2012
Melrit in conversation with Anitha.S ( [email protected])

*Thai veedu = Mother’s home