Friday, January 28, 2011

Survival of a Tennis Player (Survivor K. Pasupathi)

Matthew Rader heard first hand about the dramatic survival of K. Pasupathi. Recently, Matthew, a photographer from Dallas, Texas was one of 6 members to be picked to go to a state in south India called Tamil Nadu through a Rotary exchange program called the Group Study Exchange (GSE).

(Photo by Matthew T. Rader. Copyright 2011. All rights reserved).

During our trip the six visitors visited many Rotary clubs and members of them. They learned of the city, and the effects of economy and nature. Including the Tsunami. One of the cities he visited was a coastal city called Karaikal, in Pondicherry, India. There a group of Rotarians invited them to have lunch at a small restaurant on the beach which they quickly found out was one of the places that was hit hard by the tsunami.

While at lunch Rader heard the story of K. Pasupathi. He told his story how how he and friends had been on that beach playing tennis when the tsunami hit. Rader was fascinated by the story. He asked Pasupathi if he would show him the spots from his Tsunami story. He graciously agreed and the friendship began.

You can read the story that Mathew Rader recorded of K. Pasupathi of Karaikal here.

For dramatic footage of when the first or second wave hit Karaikal, see this video.
It looks "calm and orderly," but what the story does not tell is how the wave continued to swell and then suck back everything it caught.

And to see the complete progression of how the waves came in at Kanayakumari, this video of 6-7 minutes will show you the full effect. Pay careful attention to the 4 minute mark. Manakkudi a few kilometers west of Kanayakumari where the beach elevation is very low with a wide and shallow estuary, the destruction was terrible. All the four spans of a newly constructed bridge across Manakkudi 'Kayal' were dislodged and thrown more than 70 metres upstream by the surging tsunami waves. At Manakkudi the waves were six metre high, whereas further north near Alapujha they were 1 to 1.5 m high. A very good description about what happened is written by VK Joshi in his article, "When the sea paid obeisance to Kanyakumari"