70-year-old Shanmugavel, a resident of Kalyanipuram in Kadaiyam, is sitting at a table at the entrance of his house when a masked intruder is seen slowly sneaking up behind him. As the unknowing elderly man reaches out to pick up a piece of paper kept in front of him, the intruder pulls him back with a piece of cloth around his neck, trying to choke him. Caught in a deadly grip, Shanmugavel struggles to get free as the door of the house opens and his wife, 65-year-old Senthamarai, comes out running. At the same time, another masked intruder appears on the screen.
Over the next 45 seconds, the elderly couple shows tremendous bravery. Shanmugavel's wife acted quickly. She grabs slippers kept at the door and starts throwing them one by one at the intruder trying to strangle her husband. Meanwhile, Shanmugavel tries to break free and hits the other intruder. As the slippers hit the robber, he falters and Shanmugavel falls off his chair, gets up, picks up a plastic chair and flings it at the burglars.
The intruders then pull out sickles, ready to strike the couple.
But before they could even gather themselves, Shanmugavel and his wife throw furniture at them – chairs, stools and everything they can find in their vicinity. As one robber backs away, the second continues to raise the sickle and threateningly approach the couple. But the couple is relentless and both Shanmugavel and his wife bring one chair after another upon him, even breaking a plastic green stool on his head. At one point, Shanmugavel can be seen fighting with a broken plastic leg of the stool against the robber’s sickle.
The intruders had no choice but to beat a hasty retreat.
The video of the incident, which took place at 9 pm on Sunday, is going viral on social media and the couple is being praised for their courage and quick-thinking.
Speaking to TNM, Shanmugavel reveals that the couple was prepared to handle intruders in their residence.
"We live in a farmhouse at the edge of the village and it is located very close to the forest. It is a five-acre land and we have been here for 40 years. We were acutely aware of the fact that we were susceptible to attacks from robbers because our house was isolated from the rest of the village," he says. "When I was getting strangled, I immediately began to make loud noises to get my wife's attention. I knew it didn't have to make sense. It just had to bring her to the entrance," he says.
Senthamarai appears completely unperturbed by the previous night's attack. She merely laughs when this reporter expresses awe at her act of bravery. When asked how she reacted almost immediately to the attack, by throwing footwear at the first intruder, she says, "Because I love my husband of course. How can I bear to watch when someone is hurting him?" she asks.
The couple is very amused at the praise that the video of their brave act is getting.
"I have always been bold, right from a young age," says Senthamarai, dismissing any incredulity over the fight. "I knew we had to fight back and when we did, the intruders actually got scared. One of them hurt my hand with the sickle and in that gap, managed to steal my gold thaali, which was four sovereigns. But my husband is unhurt and I am happy we chased the intruders away," she adds.
While the local police have filed an FIR, the accused are yet to be identified and arrested.