From Nehru to Indira, NaMo to RaGa, She's Seen Them All - The New Indian Express

From Nehru to Indira, NaMo to RaGa, She's Seen Them All

Published: 25th April 2014 07:32 AM

Last Updated: 25th April 2014 08:42 AM

Alamelu Thirumeni
For 13 years, Alamelu Thirumeni hasn’t stepped out of home for any reason, but to vote. And dressed in a silk sari to do it with style, she would always return with a proud smile and ink on her index finger.

When we talk to Alamelu at 10 pm, she is a little groggy but amazingly, she recalls her first vote with perfect clarity.

It was 1952. It was India’s first election, and Alamelu  voted alongside her husband in Saidapet.

Alamelu (ma’am) is 104 years old. And on Thursday, as with every election, she got ready and made the trip to the polling booth at the Ayikuppam village in Cuddalore again.

Only this time, she had her 70-year-old son drive her in a car to the polling station and when she stepped towards the booth, she said, “I was wearing a cotton sari, because of the heat”.

From the summer of ‘52 to 2014, not an election has gone by without Alamelu exercising her franchise.

Her spine may be a tad bent with age and having lived over a century tending to a large family and a farm - we understand when her grandson, a fashion photographer and actor Sunder Ramu tells us that she is quite frail.

“But her mind is still as sharp as it was when she would discuss politics with us when I was 10 year old,” he tells Express.

Sunder, who has acted in films such as Mayakkam Enna, says, “My grandmother is so current that she even discusses my films with me”. He laughs and quickly adds, “And she debates with the entire family on the pros and cons of candidates of various parties before she makes her decision on who to vote for!”

With that much history behind you, you’ve got to hope that she gets to do it all over again.

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