Madikeri: After the cloudburst and devastating landslides, the scenes at Jodupala village are nightmarish. The only thing that is visible is debris all around. Families have lost their near and dear ones; acres of estates have caved in. Even after days of search, many bodies were not found. Among them was a 15-year-old-girl Manjula Kalebar, who is not found even after 56 days of vigorous search.
The family members of Manjula, especially her parents had made every attempt to find her but in vain. Giving up, they have decided to perform her last rites. But the ritual was very unusual. A model of Manjula was created and was draped with a traditional silk saree in Kodava style. The model was made to appear like a bride.
The model was created using areca nut leaves and branches.
After preparing the model, according to Manjula’s family tradition and practice, the marriage ritual was conducted.
The ritual was performed right on the spot where she was last seen and is believed to have breathed her last. Manjula’s father Somaiah and mother Jayanti were inconsolable. Manjula’s family members, teachers and students of Mademaheshwara School (where Manjula studied) and villagers of Bettathur, mourned her untimely demise.
Later, the model was taken to her birthplace Bettathur and funeral performed in a cemetery belonging to her family.
Death was waiting at the relatives’ residence
Manjula, who was basically from Bettathur, was pursuing her higher primary education at Mademaheshwar School. As there was only one bus to and fro, she was accommodated at her relative Basappa’s residence.
Manjula is said to have been an excellent Throwball player. Last year, she had participated in the Departmental Level Sports meet, which was held in Udupi. She had performed exceptionally well and because of her potential, she was selected for this year’s sports meet too.
When the cloudburst occurred on August 16 at around 8 AM, massive floods along with heavy landslides occurred. Due to this, Basappa’s house was completely demolished and the rainwater had entered into his house. Basappa, Gowramma and Monisha along with Manjula were washed away in the floods.
Except for Manjula’s body, those of the remaining three were recovered and the last rites performed. It has been 56 days and none has a clue about Manjula’s whereabouts.