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By Colleen Messina
1 Tranquil, green waves lapped gently against Ramakrishna's fishing boat as he sailed into the bay. He loved the peachy sunrise and the soft breezes that swept across the Bay of Bengal. He enjoyed the rhythm of the waves as his boat full of fish bobbed along. He had had a good catch that morning. Now his family would have plenty to eat, and he would have many fish to sell at the market! Ramakrishna was the entrepreneur of his family and had his own fishing business in Tamil Nadu, India. Ramakrishna pulled his heavy boat onto the sandy shore close to his family's fishing hut, and then he decided to go home for a quick breakfast. He would eat fresh bread and tell his family about his fishing excursion.
2 When Ramakrishna got home, his wife greeted him at the door, while their three young boys played inside. Dinakaran, a mischievous seven-year-old, proudly showed his father a patterned, short-sleeved shirt that he was wearing to school for the first time that day. Dinakaran already showed an affinity for math, which made his parents proud.
3 "I had a good trip this morning. The sea was charitable, and I captured so many fish! I am going back to the beach to sort and pack the fish in a few minutes," said Ramakrishna. The yellow, floppy-eared mutt dog, Kumar, danced about and begged for a bit of bread. Kumar had a large repertoire of tricks to perform when he begged for food!
4 "Here you are, boy, now let me be! I am going back to the hut to sort my catch!" Ramakrishna said with a laugh. He told his wife, Sangeeta, about the wispy patterns in the sky that morning, as though Lord Shiva himself decided to take up watercolor painting and used the sky as his canvas. She smiled at her husband's devotion and gave him a mug of steaming tea. Ramakrishna rested a moment and then stood up to go back to work. His cup of chai tea left a trail of spicy aroma behind him as he left.
5 Sangeeta waved goodbye to her husband and thanked the gods for her husband's good catch. She felt that the elephant-headed god, Ganesh, who is the older brother of Lord Shiva, was the most important god in the galaxy. She decided to visit a temple later to offer a prayer of thanks. Tamil Nadu, the "Land of Temples," had over 30,000 beautiful temples to many gods and goddesses.
6 A huge, rumbling noise suddenly shook their house. The unearthly sound made Sangeeta drop her chapatti on the floor and wonder if the noise was the antecedent to some disaster. Her children, suddenly silent, stared at her with black, frightened eyes. Even Kumar sat still, but a thin whimper escaped his throat. The sound seemed to imply that something was wrong.
7 "Mommy, what was that?" said Dinakaran, as he patted Kumar's head. "I want Daddy!"
8 "I don't know. I am going to the roof to see if I can find out. Stay here," replied Sangeeta. She grabbed the hem of her sari and ran up the steps. What she saw paralyzed her for a moment. The normally tranquil Bay looked completely different. Colossal 20-foot waves were heading for the shore and people were running frantically! One clear thought occurred to her: she must get her children to higher ground...fast!
9 Sangeeta stumbled down the steps and faced the hardest choice of her life. She had three children, but only two arms. In a split second, she grabbed her youngest two, screaming to her 7-year-old to follow. She dashed out to the street, only to see Dinakaran running in the opposite direction. He was looking for his father!
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