Our food during the escape – Mullivaikkal | Mugilnila
Abruptly, our escape began. There was a danger that the army could also show up here through Aanaiyaraivu, Kilinochchi, Paranthan, Dharmapuram, and Visuvamadu, so we had prepared two cloth bags early on. To escape spontaneously and quickly with the most necessary things in case of any situation. In the first bag were important documents for everyone, such as certificates and documents. In the second bag were our two changes of clothes. Since we had already fled several times, we were a bit more rehearsed by now. The war conditions as well as the general war situation was very bad. Our house was near the main road of Paranthan-Mullai. The roads were crowded as refugees from Visuvamadu were traveling both on foot and by transport. About two days ago, mom had packed the cloth bags.
Two bombs fell, but they did not hit our area. That’s why we were a bit careless. The things that were in the second bag flew out. A few documents that we had put in the other bag are now on the table.
Dad went to the weekly market on the fourth morning and mum prepared the food. Suddenly, the Sri Lankan government forces dropped two bombs on the main road. Shots were heard near the pond, which is about 3 km away from us. Based on the volume of the gunshots and the estimated distance, we suspected that the Sri Lankan government troops were getting closer and closer. In addition, it was raining continuously. The water was up to our knees, but nevertheless, we hid in a bunker we had built ourselves. Since the bombs hit many trees, you could hear the branches falling. The tops of the coconut palms were damaged. Our house had also been damaged from all sides. After every single bomb drop, there were usually always small pauses. But today there were no pauses and it went on continuously. For two hours, bombs were dropped half a foot along two roads. Finally, after the two hours of bombing, there was a small break. Mama rapidly left the bunker. She quickly took the clothes and the missing documents from the table. Dad is still not back. My heart was racing so fast. My heart dropped into my pants.
After about 10 minutes, Dad came in, his shirt was all covered in blood. We didn’t know what had happened and he wasn’t able to tell us. He took us to the back entrance of the house – we have to escape. It was still raining. Everyone was hiding in fear, from the bombs and gunshots, behind the coconut trees and in the bunkers, including our family. Four to five houses next to us were the house of our acquaintance. We took refuge in their bunker. We spent the whole day in the bunker. There were splintered pieces of a bomb on our father’s body. In addition, he had become very wet due to the rain. Our father’s family friend ordered him to take the tetanus vaccine so that this would not lead to infection. However, my father was against this suggestion. My father reported why he was covered in blood. He helped the people who were hit by bombs as well as the people who died from them and took them to the hospital. He reported that the situation there was very bad and that it would not be fair to go there now because of a vaccination. We only had two changes of clothes and a few documents in our hands, nothing else. The family had provided us with food. There was rice and aubergine.
The next day we already had to leave. Since the family has a harvest field, they had rice available. Of course, we took this with us. They also had many dried, small coconut pieces. However, we could not cross the main road. The road was full of dead people who had been hit by the bomb. We had to take a shortcut and reached Suthantirapuram Colony in the process. In the next four days, we reached Vallipuram. After that, we reached quite a few areas and had to leave again and we saw thousands of casualties. For the first thirty days, the supplies we took with us were enough. We were 8 people in total, there were 3 of us and in their family, there were three children and two adults. It was also a very amazing thing to raise food for all of us during that difficult time. Dad exchanged mum’s gold bracelets for half a bag of wheat flour and 10 kg of sugar. Then in the morning, we got black tea without sugar, at noon rice and in the evening we got half a roti which we could eat with sugar. That was our daily meal.
At each place, we built a trench for protection. When we went from Vallipuram to Thevipuram and then to Koompaavil, we ran out of flour in stock. There was not really much left of the rice either. We have to find a new way for all of us to eat again. My father and his family friend, whom we always call uncle, were getting more and more desperate, thinking about what we could do.
Taking shelter from the air raids and bombs, people crying, and death was everyday life for us. Our stomachs growled, partly because of hunger and partly because of fear. We saw a house with many rice sacks in front of it. Then my father took the gold chain from my mother. They went off. However, dad and uncle came back empty-handed. Since we are refugees, they did not open the doors. After four days, everyone got half a roti at 11:00 and at 17:00. That was it! Our situation was really good compared to some others. Many had nothing to eat.
Uncle brought half a sack of flour, he had gone in search of it and traded it for his wife’s bangle. The possibility of making rice was also very low. Since we had very little flour left, we could not make food such as piddu. We could only eat roti. Our mothers came up with the idea of simply adding sugar when preparing the dough, so we could save some more sugar. Rice was now also empty. Dad and my uncle had a hard time getting half a sack of rice from somewhere. Fortunately, they got half a sack of rice. However, this was unpeeled rice. My mother’s necklace had to be sacrificed this time.
We have now arrived in Raddai Vaikkal.
In a shop, we got 250 g of red lentils and 100 g of sugar and everyone was queuing up. Many had been waiting there since the previous evening. My dad also queued outside the shop every day to get red lentils and sugar for us, but he always came back empty-handed and injured. On the third day, where he also set up a sleeping place, he came to us the following day with 250 g of red lentils and 100 g of sugar, but he looked really bad. He told us that a bomb had hit the people at the entrance in front of the shop and that blood had splattered on his shirt. He also sadly told us that many small children died too. My dad drained the red lentils in the water. My mother made us a red lentil curry that we had never seen before, which was no longer a curry (a very watery consistency). In the evening we had the Red Lentil Curry again and not half a piece of roti, but only a quarter for everyone. This was now our daily meal. We went through many places and finally arrived at Mullivaikkal.
Now we only had a little bit of rice, which is equivalent to a quarter. That was it. My mother was now desperate to know what we could make for dinner. The sand, which was burning hot, the general heat and in the tents, moreover, there were corpses in the tents next door. Cooking in this situation was really dangerous. For this reason, we built a bunker-like trench so that they could cook. Early in the morning, mum makes the rice at 11:00, and at 11:30 we got Kanji (rice soup), this was lunch. In the afternoon at 16:00, we had rice with fried “Vidatthal” tree leaves which she picked nearby. This was our dinner. This was our daily meal.
My mother gave us a quarter of kanji (rice soup) in a silver cup and then a handful of rice. Kanji and “vaippan” were distributed. The queue was very long. I also took a silver pot and went to get something to eat too. Suddenly a bombing plane came. I ran for my life and hid by the ditch, but thank God I was not hurt. Whatever happens, I will never let go of my silver pot, because tomorrow I have to get back in line and if I don’t have a container, I can’t get anything to eat.
Now our relatives have also arrived. Five of them still have babies in their hands. These children were only about 4-5 months old. Unfortunately, we had no powdered milk for the little ones. Moreover, the children did not have any nutritious food, the women could not breastfeed because they had no energy themselves. I felt incredibly sorry for all the children and the mothers, I heard that milk powder was handed out at one corner and so I set out to get milk powder for the babies. However, I always came back empty-handed. While waiting in long queues, there was usually an air raid, which also killed a lot of people, but the next day the surviving people were still queuing up. On the fourth day, I went again to get the milk powder, then there was an air raid, many people were injured and many people died. The next day I went again and I was successful, I got the milk powder.
I come back and no one was there anymore, everything was devastated! I was scared and confused. I looked everywhere but found no one. “Where are they!!!” I thought to myself. There was an elderly gentleman next to me. I asked him where my family was. He replied that a bomb had fallen in the tent where my family was, two of the people were injured but luckily nothing worse happened. Your family must be up on the hill, where there is a tent. I quickly joined my family. My aunt had a head injury and my cousin was injured in the leg. To stop the blood, they disinfected the injury with cologne water and tied it up with a cloth.
We had nothing more to eat. The little babies were hungry and screamed very loudly as a result. The next day, my mother took off her golden necklace (thali) and told Papa to get something to eat. In the evening he came with some lentils and a coconut, with which my mum made a delicious lentil curry. My dad cut the coconut into small pieces and gave each of us a small piece. The lentil curry was cooked in the cooker. Our eyes were just around the cooker. We waited and waited eagerly for when it would be ready to eat. Suddenly everyone shouted, “the army is coming! the army is coming! “.
My dad wanted to check if the air was safe again and stuck his head out of the bunker. The citizens were right. Far away you could see the heads of the army. My papa was still calm and serene. The fire in the cooker went out. Half an hour had passed. The roads were crowded with people. My dad slowly came out of the bunker. He told us to stay in the bunker and he checked the current situation. In the back river areas, we could hear gunshots getting louder and louder. We also came out of the bunker. We moved on with the crowd. The pot of lentil curry shattered. For two days we have not eaten anything and the stomach of all of us growled loudly and our bodies plagued with fear …