THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: For Sosamma, the wait for her husband extends into a week on Wednesday. “Jose left for work at 3 pm last Wednesday. He should have been home by Thursday morning,” she said. Her seven-year-old daughter Jiya sat on her lap, blissfully ignorant of her mother’s desperation.
Their rented house, a tiny affair constructed of hollow bricks, sits only a few metres from the sea at Valiyathura. Jose, 37, is the sole breadwinner for his family consisting of Sosamma, daughters Shreya, 8, and Jiya, 7, and son Sharon, 4. His family is desperate to hear any news about him. Last Thursday, the day Jose should’ve been home, Sosamma stayed home in the morning, then went out to the beach.
“I wandered around. Then I saw a boat approaching. Someone said it was his,” she said. So she rushed home, cleaned up the place and waited. But the man in the boat was not Jose. Soon, Jose’s parents Mema and Freddie rushed to Valiyathura from Mampally. By then the news broke about cyclone Ockhi.
“For four days, there was no news. On the fifth day people started visiting. Now it’s seven days since he’s gone. What will his wife and children do without him? This is not even their own house,” said Mema.
In between, there were reports Jose had been traced. However, the reports turned out to be false and disappointment once again descended on the entire family.
On Tuesday morning, neighbours had gathered in the tiny yard outside the front door to join in the wait. In all, 11 men had gone missing from Valiyathura alone. Three men were back safely and one died. Seven of the men, including Jose, are still missing at sea.
Jose’s eldest daughter is in Class III, the middle one in Class II, and the youngest in the kindergarten.
Every time the news breaks that yet another fisherman has been found alive, the hopes of the family rocket. “Several men by the name of Jose have been found by now. But not him,” his mother said ruefully.
With several bodies kept at the General Hospital yet to be identified, Jose’s sister was subjected to a DNA test on Tuesday. The results are awaited.