Chennai: Twelve-year-old Meena and 13-year-old Soumya at Annai Sathya
Government Orphanage in Nagapattinam district in coastal Tamil
Nadu are truly the children of tsunami.
They were brought to the home by a government official who found
them as three- and four-year-olds crying alone soon after the
tsunami struck the Tamil Nadu coast Dec 26, 2004.
They are the only two children in the orphanage who were not
visited by any blood relatives these eight years. Some fortunate
children who were in the relief camp after the tsunami were
claimed by parents/relatives later.
Meena and Soumya do not remember the giant waves that made them
orphans and neither do they remember their parents.
"I do not fear waves. My favourite subject is Maths and my
favourite actor is Surya," Meena, who is in Class 6, told IANS.
"I am interested in sports and my favourite actor is Vijay,"
Soumya said. She is in Class 7.
"For them the orphanage is their home and the wardens, teachers
and fellow children are their relatives. Meena and Soumya are
closely bonded," Angalammal, the warden of the orphanage, told
However, seeing fellow inmates going to their relatives' homes
during school vacations, Meena and Soumya are now yearning for
parental love and affection.
The tsunami, triggered by an undersea quake off the island of
Sumatra, Indonesia, hit the Tamil Nadu coast killing around 8,000
people in Nagapattinam, Cuddalore, Chennai and Kanyakumari. Around
6,100 lives were lost in Nagapattinam district alone.
Over 230,000 were killed by the tsunami in Indonesia, Sri Lanka,
India, Thailand and the Maldives.
According to Angalammal, the two girls are finding some emotional
support in K. Marimuthu, a government school teacher in Thanjavur
district, and consider him as their father.
"I had gone to the orphanage to donate to the library several
years ago. I was told about the two by officials who asked me to
get some dresses for them," Marimuthu told IANS.
Since then, he has been visiting the girls. He also gets them
things they need.
Over a period of time the two girls started considering him their
"It is clear the girls are yearning for parental love. When other
children in the orphanage go to their relatives homes during their
vacation, these two girls have to stay put in the orphanage,"
"It is heart wrenching to turn down their request to bring them
home during holidays as it is against the rules," said Marimuthu,
a widower and a father of college-going girl.
Meanwhile, children at the Annai Sathya orphanage are also
dreaming about their career.
"I want to become an IAS officer to serve the poor," Roopa, a
Class 12 student, told IANS.