Thiruvananthapuram: Until a day before, Ashokan, a farmer from Rajakkad in Kerala's Idukki district, was lesser known or almost unknown to the outside world. But not anymore. After a roadside cloth vendor named Noushad donated the entire stock in his tiny shop for flood relief comes another tale of a "superhero without a cape’. Ashokan donated a huge bunch of plantain as 'Onakkodi' (new clothes for Onam festival) to kids affected by floods.
Ashokan, whose harvest was washed away in the flash floods, donated the only surviving bunch of plantain to the flood survivors. The farmer, who had reaped a bumper crop from his farmlands, could only watch helplessly as the raging waters devoured his yield.
Ashokan was spotted by MS Aneesh Kumar, a senior reporter with News18 Kerala. The crew was about to pack up after a day’s work from the flood-hit zone when Aneesh spotted someone walking up to him, hauling a large bunch of plantains on his shoulder.
“I am deeply saddened after watching the plight of the people of Malappuram and Wayanad on the television. I have no money left for them. Take this with you, drop it at a relief camp you come across,” said Ashokan, placing the collection in the car's boot.
After bidding Ashokan goodbye, the crew looked for a relief camp, but to no avail. Many camps en route were winding up operations and people were returning home.
The crew's journey ended at a relief material collection centre in Kattappana, where a group of youngsters, who had earlier come across Ashokan’s story, purchased the plantains for Rs 1,000. The team then left for a textile shop in order to purchase merchandise to present as 'Onakkodi' to children hit by the disaster.
Meanwhile, the shop owner named Raju, who was familiar with Ashokan’s story, had a surprise plan. Shelling out some more money from his pocket, Raju gave away a set of expensive clothes for the kids. With the help of Kattappana municipal chairman Joy Vettikuzhy, they are now planning to hand over the goodies to the needy.
The death toll in Kerala increased to 76 on Monday, while in Karnataka, Gujarat and Maharashtra 97 people have lost their lives so far due to the monsoon fury, as per official data.