Stars will not twinkle in Kottilpadu and many other fishing hamlets along the coastal belt of Kanyakumari district this Christmas, as it is the time to remember their dead for the tsunami survivors.
Unlike 2004, when the fishermen community, mostly Christians, had celebrated Christmas with much enthusiasm a few hours before the tsunami waves wiped out many villages, there will be silent prayers all around.
Paper stars and Christmas trees, heralding the arrival of yet another Christmas season, were conspicuous by their absence when a UNI correspondent visted many coastal hamlets in the worst affected areas of Kottilpadu, Colachel, Muttam, Manakkudi and Kanyakumari.
Even the churches on the coastal areas wear a desolate look.
Says Fr Xavier Raj of the local St Alex Church: "We are not celebrating Christmas this time. Except special prayers for the tsunami victims, there will not be any major festivities, which used to be associated with Christmas." Bernard, a local fisherman who lost two of his relatives to the giants waves that lashed their village a day after Christmas 2004, recollected that it was a grand Christmas.
"You could see almost all the houses in this stretch decorated with stars and Christmas trees last year," he said, pointing his fingers towards a barren stretch of land where only a few houses are left. Others were washed away, along with the inhabitants, in the monster waves that claimed nearly 600 lives in the district.
A couple of minutes on that fateful day had changed the destiny of many, who are shattered and unable to think of another day of celebration, without their family members.