While old age can be a lonely and difficult time, in 2019, Kerala gave us a few examples where senior citizens not just broke stereotypes, but also showed that growing old can be beautiful. For these people, age was no barrier, for realising their dreams, for finding love, and much more. Here is a list of five such inspiring stories.
Couple in their 60s marries at an old age home
67-year-old Kochaniyan Menon and 66-year-old Lakshmi Ammal found love at an old age home in Thrissur. They became the first couple in Kerala to get married in a state-run old age home. The state government welcomed their decision and sponsored a grand wedding at the home too.
The couple knew each other for 30 years before they became residents of the old age home. However, they had lost touch, until Lakshmi landed up in the home two years ago, and Kochaniyan, two months ago. They received their affection for one another and decided to get married.
The wedding took place on December 28 at the home, in the presence of Minister VS Sunil Kumar, the district collector, Thrissur Mayor and other esteemed officials.
A group of senior citizens who chase their dreams
Synergy, a Kottayam-based senior citizens forum, is not just a club of aged people. It help its members realise their dreams.
It was five years ago that former National Service Scheme Program Coordinator C Thomas Abraham, MC Joseph Mukkadan, and a few others formed the group based on the concept of ‘ageing gracefully, living meaningfully’. The group helps their members in completing their education, providing platform for performing dance, songs and other cultural activities. Above all they travel a lot to explore themselves.
85-year-old TikTok granny lands a role in a film
Mary Joseph Mampilly turned out to be a natural actor when her grandson Jinson shot TikTok videos with her around their house in North Paravur. Film editor Binshad Nazer, who is directing his first film called Sundaran Subash saw Jinson and Mary's videos and liked the nice old granny, with her bucktooth smile and easy solutions to life problems.
"In the movie, we have a character we call Ammumma, a 90-year-old on whom the story is based. We were planning to cast someone from the industry but on seeing these videos, we decided it should be her. The videos have a certain quality," Binshad had earlier told TNM.
Jinson says that maybe she's always had talent and no one knew it.
Netflix's Indian grandma
Sharan Nair would make fun home videos with his grandmother Thankam in their Kochi apartment and post them on his Instagram account. Netflix watched some of these videos and invited the pair to do a series called 'Indian Grandma Reacts To', where Thankam would react to some films and series streamed on the OTT giant.
Two Netflix videos came out one after the other -- the first sees Thankam reacting to the anthology film Lust Stories; and in the second, Sharan and Thankam watch Sex Education, a Netflix series. In both the videos, you see grandma and grandson sitting on a couch and watching the content, with Sharan asking her questions about it.
"What to do, when you have a grandson like this? He makes me do all these things!” Thankam had said to TNM earlier.
She had not known initially that Sharan used to post their videos on social media. Now she has her own account on Instagram and asks Sharan how their Netflix videos are doing.
He's 90, she's 88, they reunited in an old age home
Before Kochaniyan and Lakshmi's wedding at the old age home, the news of another senior couple reuniting at an old age home had brought smiles to people's faces earlier.
The couple in question reunited in another old age home in Kodungallur, Thrissur in September, 2019. Saidu, 90, and Subadra, 88, had met each other when she was living with her father as a young widow with two kids. They had a register marriage then and lived together for 29 years. But then at the age of 54, Saidu went away in search of a job, reached some place in north India and lost touch with Subadra.
36 years later, they coincidentally ended up in the same old age home and recognised each other. The old age home has an apt name too -- 'Velicham', meaning Light.