Every morning at around 6,Dora walks down the narrow lane outside her house to the local cemetery where her husband Valentile alias Jelestine is buried. This February,it will be two years since Jelestine and another fisherman Ajeesh Pinku were killed in firing by Italian marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone onboard mercantile vessel Enrica Lexie. Dora,42,starts her day by whispering a prayer for Jelestine first at his grave and then at the church. She misses him,but is starting to think of a life beyond. Her only dream,she says,is to see her sons excel in studies. I dont want to send my sons to the sea.
Doras elder son Derrick,19,is a mechanical engineering student at a local self-financing college while 11-year-old Jean is a Class VI student at an English-medium school.
While Italy has failed to send back the marines to India to face the murder charge,since they went home one year ago for Christmas,Dora says she doesnt want the government to pursue the case. Even if the marines are brought back,tried and punished,will I get back my husband? she says. Let them go free. I dont want my sons to face marines curse.
Several priests and scribes from Italy also visited the family last year,seeking that they pardon the marines. We told them that we have pardoned them.
Three months after Jelestines death,Dora had got the job of a peon in the Fisheries Department on compassionate grounds,on a salary of
Rs 10,000 a month. Shocked at her husbands untimely death,Dora did not attend office initially. Now,office makes me happy. If the government hadnt given me a job,I would have stayed in trauma, she says.
The Italian government gave a compensation of Rs 1 crore after the families withdrew their affidavits in the court against its plea seeking quashing of the FIR against marines. After accepting the compensation,Dora gave it in writing that she had pardoned the two. A portion of the compensation,Rs 52 lakh,was used to buy six-and-a-half cents of land at Thangassery,Kollam. After clearing the lawyers bills,the rest of the amount was kept in a fixed deposit in a local cooperative bank.
Dora now tries to make sure that her sons enjoy their childhood. Last month,Derrick bought a scooter. His father had promised him one. I have kept that word. Since Jelestine was always keen about the children going out during the holidays,Dora last week took them to her in-laws house in Nagarcoil,Tamil Nadu,for the first time since her husbands death. They also visited Kanyakumari.
They continue to live in a two-room house at Muthakkara in Kollam. Dora says her relatives want the family to move out of the house,but she cant. We have an emotional attachment to the house that was constructed by Jelestine. I want to live with his memories.