The unprecedented floods across Kerala dampened the spirit of the Onam festival across God's own country.
There was no sign of celebration as NDTV drove from Thrissur to Idukki. There were no floral decorations for which the festival is known. The few roadside flower shops hardly had any customers.
As we crossed Thalakod, we saw a newly married couple - Deepthi and Sunil - returning from a temple and entering their home. Their house had a small floral decoration. Deepthi said, "It's a special day for us, but when the entire state is in grief due to death and destruction, due to floods, how can we celebrate". Her husband Sunil said, "No special Onam food too, only Payasam".
His friend Basil Baby, a teacher, said, "We are making this Onam meaningful by volunteering at homes to clean up places".
Hotels too witnessed a dip in occupancy. Some have even cancelled their usual buffet for want of sufficient occupancy. A manager of a four-star hotel said, "We have moved to Ala Carte".
The worst flood in 90 years displaced around ten lakh people to relief camps. At least seven thousand houses have collapsed, while around fifty thousand houses have been damaged. Around ten thousand kilometers of roads have suffered damage. Forty thousand hectares of crop has been lost.