As flood waters rose to engulf their homes at Kainakary, a picturesque village in Alappuzha district, at least 20 families took refuge in a church cemetery and are living in the company of the dead with their domestic animals.
Thankachan and his family refused to accept help and go to a safer place leaving behind their cows and goats. However, as the water rose to a dangerous level, the family took shelter in the St Mary's church cemetery at Kainakary village, a taluk in Kuttanad, with the animals.
Kainakary is a sought-after spot by television serial makers due to its scenic beauty. "We are not scared of living in the cemetery in the company of the dead. This is the final resting place of my father, elder sister and many other relatives who are buried here," Thankachan said.
"We had cows and goats and we did not want to leave them behind," he added. Presently, there are 20 other families who have taken shelter at the graveyard.
They cook meals with whatever they are able to lay hands on, including fish. Water is a problem though and the stranded people have to depend on bottled water from Alappuzha.
Five rivers originating from the Western Ghats, including the sacred Pamba river, drain into the Vembanad lake at the tip of Kainakary, famous for its snake boat race rowers.