KOCHI: The disciplined group of students who walked into the Metro train at Ernakulam South Station turned into a boisterous bunch of youngsters as soon as the doors closed and the locomotive chugged out. The excitement was so palpable. But, the kids were not alone in exuding joy, equally enthralled were the grandmothers from Ernakulam Mercy Home who joined the students of Government Girls’ UP School.
“The ride is a first for not only many of the students but also for all the grannies,” said T V Peter, headmaster, Govt Girls’ UP School, Ernakulam South. “The ride had dual purpose. We wanted the students to acquaint themselves with the strides our city is taking toward and what Metro means to Kochi,” he said.
Another purpose was to inculcate a feeling of empathy for the grandmothers, who are spending their twilight years in a care home, he added.
“It is good see the kids interacting with the grandmothers, ”said the headmaster pointing towards a student talking to 84-year-old Teresa. Elin Halam, a class VII student whose family has migrated from Assam, could be seen chattering away with her friends in broken Malayalam, Hindi and English. “I am very excited,” she said. “It is worthwhile to spend time with the elderly who feel abandoned and lonely. Hope they enjoyed their time with us,” said Elin.
According to Teresa, who has been living at Mercy Home for the past six years, “I don’t have any family. My husband passed away 27 years ago and we didn’t have any kids. Even my siblings have passed away, so I am all alone and biding my time. When I heard about the ride and got the invite, I felt very happy,” she said. “It gave me a well-deserved break from the monotony of everyday life,” Teresa added.
Teresa’s friends from the home, Mariamma and Rosamma, too expressed their happiness. “It was endearing to see the love these kids have for us. They are innocent and their hearts are pure. This reflects in their actions and we pray they never lose their innocence,” said 64-year-old Rosamma, who used to work at a convent in Munnar. She never married and hence has no one to take care of.
After the metro ride, the students treated the grandmothers to cultural programmes.