When the seemingly flood tolerant places saw an unexpected rise in the water level during the deluge in August 2018, it was an equally unexpected battalion that saved many lives which would have been lost otherwise. It was the act by those who rowed their boats over the rooftops which made UNICEF quote, “this is worth documenting and sharing widely for others to learn from Kerala.”
Rejimon Kuttappan, a journalist, documents the experiences of the fisher folks, hailed as the indigenous navy of the state during the flood in this book. Rowing their way against the currents of the Pampa River, the book narrates the story of risk and rescue with incidents of shame and shock as well.
Rowing Between The Rooftops: The Heroic Fishermen of Kerala Floods is a book which documents the created history of resilience through selfless deeds. It gives insights on the hurdles that they had to face which is synonymous to the life they led. Recovering from the aftermath of the Ockhi cyclone, it was the call of humanity that brought the good Samaritans to rescue more than three thousand stranded lives, risking their life and livelihood. The text rich with anecdotes from fishermen who were a part of the mission does not only trawl stories of survival but also casts the net, catching hold of minds that are too narrow for them to row their boats through. The experiences a few of them had amidst the uncertainty that nature posed on all their lives, is an evidence of the prevalent notions of untouchability in the state which claims to be in the forefront of literacy and development.
Rejimon, through this book lends a voice to what could otherwise be left unheard or fade away with time. It is a tribute to the unsung heores who saved Kerala in its moment of need.