KOCHI: Janaki, who is in her 60s, only had faint memories of her childhood days. Still, she kept those sepia-tinted images close to her heart as if the frames from the past were the one thing that lights up her otherwise mundane life punctuated by personal angst and age-related ailments.
Now, the sexagenarian has received a new lease of life thanks to Kunnukara grama panchayat’s novel attempt. The panchayat organised a free one-day excursion for 300 residents who are over 60.
“It was really an amazing experience. I am so happy to go on a trip like in my childhood days,” said Janaki.
Two such trips have already been organised and more are on the way, as the panchayat is set to take 2,200 residents on a day-long trip. The trips are organised to different places.“The suggestion to provide a memorable day to senior citizens came from councillors,” said Kunnukara panchayat president Francis Tharayil. “In a survey they conducted, it was found only those who are not physically fit expressed their reluctance to participate in the excursion. Our aim is to provide a memorable day for them. We feel so proud for organising such a day.”
“In the new generation where old people are being ignored, we felt as if it is our duty to make our elders happy and give them an enjoyable old age,” he said.The panchayat sourced funds for the project through donations from the public. It also received help from several other quarters, including educational institutions. “When the trip was planned a month ago, MES College Kunnukara showed a keen interest in the initiative and provided their college bus free of charge,” said panchayat member P Rajeev.The trip usually begins at 9.30 am from the panchayat office and ends at 5.30 pm. In case of medical emergencies, a doctor and a nurse will accompany the tourists, along with panchayat members and other staff.