Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The good old days are back again

 KOCHI:  When Gopalakrishnan started ‘Vayasans Club’ at Mulanthuruthi, it was with the understanding that only a person of his age could understand the pressure of his peers. Though an initiative for the old people, K Gopalakrishnan is emphatic about the fact that it is not an old-age home, but a temporary hub where elderly people can come and have fun in their own way.

“The primary aim of this club is to ward off the loneliness they feel at their own homes, when their children are away at work,” he said. The other objective is to provide  his ‘companions’ with timely medical aid. And, for this purpose, Gopalakrishnan has approached various hospitals for assistance, to which most of them have agreed. He says that many of the leading hospitals in the city, including Ayurveda and homeopathic clinics have offered full support to his venture. “They are even ready to offer medical check-ups once in every 15 days, free of cost,” he said.

Apart from it, Gopalakrishnan has also arranged for seminars and awareness classes to instil positivity in the elderly. “Old age is a treasure trove of knowledge and death is not the only thing they should be worrying about. I want them to realise this,” he says.

On the expenses of the club, Gopalakrishnan said that he was well-equipped to take care of the daily needs. Though he admits that he could not offer them sumptuous feasts everyday, he did his best to ensure good homely food. “We are not bringing in any outside help for this venture. My wife is taking care of it,” he said.

He said that his decision was not an off the cuff one. “I have been deliberating this for quite a long time because I know that the helplessness of an old man or a woman in today’s world is terrible,” he said.

To have a first-hand experience, he undertook long journeys  for it. “I would travel with just Rs 100 and an identity card. All these trips made me realise that it is not easy for an elderly person to survive with little money or help,” he adds.

Adding fun to this whole endeavour are the grandchildren of the elderly people who accompany them to the club. Gopalakrishnan has started a small play school adjacent to the Vayasans Club for the tiny tots. “I am certain that this a task every grandparent would do with pleasure. Hence I thought of starting a play school too.”

When asked about this venture, Tito Thomas, Secretary of Pakal Veedu, Kottayam, said that he was very happy to hear about as it has become the need of the hour.

He added that genuine concern should guide people like Gopalakrishnan in such commendable efforts.

published in The New Indian Express

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