When a godown turned relief camp turned a wedding hall in Kerala

It was supposed to be the most memorable day in their life. And, it turned out to be one, though in the most unimaginable way possible.

Never in the wildest of their dreams did Sibina and Subeesh expect to exchange wedding garlands in a godown-turned-relief camp with hundreds of flood-hit people as invitees. But fate had their marriage planned that way at Thathapilli near North Paravur on Thursday morning.

This was after Suku and Sindhu had to haplessly watch the rampaging waters gobbling up their home they had so painstakingly decorated just days ahead of their daughter’s marriage.

It was a tribute to the indomitable human spirit that the marriage indeed took place as originally planned, though at the relief camp where the bride’s family had to take refuge. Much to the credit of the camp inmates, they buried their heartache and cheered for the couple when they exchanged garlands, thus assuring that the gloom of disaster did not cast a shadow over the youngsters starting a new life.

“It is the most fulfilling and emotional moment in our life. We can’t thank our family members, friends, and the camp inmates enough,” said the newly-wed couple before cutting short what little celebrations to join efforts to rebuild the flood-ravaged home.

Subeesh, who works as a plumber in Muscat and stays at Kadakkara near Ezhikkara in North Paravur, was spared of the kind of fury that the river had reserved for his bride’s family.

Around 750 people, including family members and camp inmates, partook in the simple meal arranged after the ceremony. Subin, Sibina’s brother and an active volunteer at the camp, recalled how so many Good Samaritans had made the marriage possible.

“The relief camp turned into a wedding hall overnight, and its grief-stricken inmates smiled through their pain,” he said in a voice choking with emotion.

The newly-wed will stay at the house of her grandmother at Puthukad near Karumaloor on Thursday.

“Getting the home back in liveable condition may take weeks. But with the anxiety over, the holding of the marriage behind us, we may get it done even quicker,” said Santhosh, Sibina’s uncle.

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