The perilous Cyclone Ockhi might have dissipated but the fear that it has instilled in people’s mind is still there. The cyclone was as fearsome as December 2004 tsunami for the fishermen who were one of the first ones to witness the storm at sea. Yonas Aruldas, 38, from Kanyakumari said, “We understand fear. Our friends warned us, it was like the December tsunami of 2004.” On the morning of November 29, on the sea off the Goa coast, Aruldas didn’t know what was coming. He didn’t know on November 30, either, as Ockhi churned across the sea. “I don’t know where and how this angry wind came or went,” he says.
Back home Aruldas has lost friends to the violent cyclone and is now eager to get back at sea to salvage their bodies. “Once I reach home, the bigger tragedy awaits, counting the bodies. I don’t know what is worse, the fate that awaits or the wait.” Maharashtra government on Thursday night moved a proposal to release 750 litres of diesel for every boat from Kerala and Tamil Nadu. From November 29 morning until the night of November 30, screams over crackling radio channels filled the cabins and this was not from government or the weather monitoring bodies. The 800-odd boats now taking refuge at Devgad were oblivious till 8 pm on November 30 about the cyclone’s path, “or even its name”, says Anthony Das, from a Kerala-registered boat. He talks about the cyclone saying that its like you know the storm is around you but you are unaware of where it will hit first.
Such is the story of many fishermen on board, though some made it live to the shores, others lost their battle at sea. Many lost everything to the cyclone. “I have never seen a cyclone this coast in December,” says Rupesh Arul, 30, whose boat now has 10 grieving men onboard. “Our grief makes noises in our head. And with no information coming from officials, we have been lying drunk in our boats. I just got told that my friend has died,” he says. The loss is beyond repair and some call it as the ”fisherman’s curse” which