“Tomorrow is the day. Are you ready? All the arrangements have been done. Let’s begin a new journey,” Mahesh said to Visakha.
Overlooking the coast line and the sun setting across the horizon, Visakha said, “I like this place. But, we have to go. So, yes, I’m all set for our escapade. Your mother and my father will never agree for our marriage,” said Visakha.
Mahesh added, “She is not my mother. My father married her and she killed him. I hate her. She has never been kind or considerate to me in the last ten years. She has been waiting for an opportunity to get rid of me. When I told her that I love you, she said that I have to choose between you and the property I get as inheritance from my father. I chose love. Now, everything goes to her son who can never be my brother.”
Mahesh and Visakha decided to step out of this life and live together happily.
Visakha said, “My parents liked you. Indeed, they were even ready to let you live with us until you find a place. But, Devi, your mother threatened them that they should not support you or our marriage. She said that she will use all her authority to get this fishermen’s colony destroyed if we ever get married. Our only hope is to escape and get married. We can at least be assured of the safety of this colony if we do so.”
Mahesh knew about his step-mother Devi and how treacherous her plans can be. Deep inside, he felt something wrong with the entire approach.
Sadashivam, Visakha’s father, overheard their conversation to elope the next day. He started getting worried. He quickly ran to his thatched house on the beach and met his neighbors there. He informed them about the plans of Mahesh and Visakha.
Narayana, one of the eldest and revered person in the neighborhood, said, “We should also move out. If we want to live, we should give up hopes of this place. These are not permanent houses, anyway. We cannot stop the kids. So, we should also go. As we cannot go with them, we should plan our escape right after they move. Ask your families to get their valuables packed. Remember the last time there was a flood ten years ago. We got one day prior notice from the government. We packed everything properly and left that place to come here. May be, now it is time for us to go to a new place and start our lives afresh.”
Sadashivam said, “Why should we go for the mistake of my daughter? I feel bad that nearly thirty families, their existence and livelihood are getting disturbed because of my daughter and her love story. I’m not liking it. I’d prefer to kill her.”
Narayana stopped Sadashivam and said, “It’s not their mistake to love. But, the situation is not helping any of us. We all know how bad Devi can get. Now, that she is governing this part of the city, it only worsened the situation for us. There is nothing we can do. If we stay here, she will come and destroy our property. Isn’t it better we move away with our property?”
One of the younger members, Keshava, said, “Isn’t it cowardice to run away like that? Why can’t we fight?”
Narayana said, “You are too young to understand these things. We are not legal occupants of this place. Do we have the documents for our houses? And, look at our thatched roofs? They don’t even need a bulldozer to pull our houses down. A group of strong men can undo our houses in a matter of few minutes. And, the fight for this place is not just because of the love story. There are so many businesses that have had an eye on this location for a long time. We never budged or moved out because we had the support of the previous Mayor. This love story gave Devi the opportunity to force us to vacate. So, I think it is better we vacate before the few things we own get destroyed. I’m pretty sure Devi will clinch a nice deal and you will not be surprised to see a grand five star hotel at this place in a matter of few months.”
None of the families wanted to leave the place. They spent that night gloomy and together reminiscing those wonderful moments they had at this place. Narayana and Sadashivam were used to this ritual of moving to new places regularly since childhood. But, for others, the last ten years changed everything. They came to believe this as their home. They could not even consider the idea of moving out with their possessions in search of a new home. The kids were so used to the beach and playing the water and swimming. They could not imagine. They requested their parents to take them to some other place adjoining a beach.
Visakha did not know that all the families were also moving out the next day. She did not get a doubt until she saw all the families packing their possessions.
She asked her father. He said that they were all getting ready for a cyclone. Visakha immediately called Mahesh and asked him to check if there was a cyclone forecast. He checked on the Internet and told her that no cyclone was expected in the next few days. Visakha felt something wrong with the entire thing.
Visakha went to Keshava’s house. She asked Keshava. Though he immediately said it was all about a cyclone, he spit out the truth after many questions. He said, “Your love story ruined our homes. Tomorrow, all of us – thirty families, will be homeless because of your selfish love story. If we stay here, Devi is going to kill us. She already threatened us many times.”
Visakha immediately called up Mahesh and told him about the entire situation.
Mahesh immediately drove to the fishermen’s colony and met Narayana and Sadashivam. Mahesh said, “Why didn’t you tell us about this before? We don’t want our love to create so much problem. We will give up our love for this. Please stay. We will not run away tomorrow. We wanted to go without telling you because we thought you’d be safe. But, it is not happening. Visakha and I decided to stay.”
Narayana immediately asked Visakha to get Haridas.
After a few minutes, Haridas joined them. He told Mahesh and Visakha the truth. He said, “I overheard a conversation your step-mother had with your step-brother. She said that she will destroy this colony in the name of illegal encroachment. She will get all the men arrested. The women and the kids will be thrown out of this colony, then. She badly needs this property as she signed an agreement with a multinational corporation and they plan to establish a beach side recreation park here. Your love story is just a fake reason she is using to threaten us. She needs to eliminate this colony from the map by tomorrow regardless of your love story.”
Mahesh got agitated and he said, “I cannot let this happen. She made me sign the property papers. She got my property and she gets this. How greedy can she get? I will fight with her and stop her from doing this.”
Narayana grinned and said, “You know she doesn’t love you. She will get you arrested. She will continue to execute her plans. Trust me. The best approach is to let her go with her plans. She is a part of the government. She has the support of policemen. It is foolish to do anything against her at this juncture. And, we are used to moving to different places. We do not have legal rights to this place either. If you really care for us, come with us. Help us set up a new place. It would be nice to get the support of someone well-educated like you.”
After a few hours of discussion and arguments, Narayana and Sadashivam convince Mahesh to go with them. They all planned to get Mahesh and Visakha married after they get settled in the new place.
In the wee hours of the next morning, the entire colony is vacated. They got to travel in jeeps as Mahesh sought his friends’ help to find some transport and temporary residence. As they drove away from the place, most of the women and kids started crying. The elderly women cursed Devi and her son. The men wished they could come back to this place some time in the future.
At ten in the morning, a proud Devi and her son came to the colony and felt happy that their plan has worked. They could get rid of Mahesh and an antire colony of fishermen, thanks to a small love story. They called the executives of the recreation park for a meeting at the location. Within a few minutes, the executives reached there. They arranged a makeshift tent to discuss the plans.
And, then, Tsunami hit the place. Huge waves suddenly came and engulfed the beach. Devi, her son, and the businessmen all got killed in the Tsunami. It all happened in a few minutes and nobody could save them.
Within a few minutes, Mahesh and the people get to know about the Tsunami. After confirming that the Tsunami would not come again, they returned to their place. Though their thatched houses were destroyed, they felt glad they could live in the same place again.
Mahesh got the property of his step-mother too. He married Visakha. Mahesh fought in the court and got legal documents for the people in the fishermen colony. He built houses for them in the place of thatched huts.