Ninety-year-old T K Thomas would have easily forgotten his birthday on December 12 as usual. But, while cutting the cake amid cheers and the flutter of festoons, he got a moment of a lifetime to cherish. Because it was on that day Mount Caramel Vidyaniketan school in Kottayam decided to felicitate grandparents of the students.
For the 200-odd grannies and grandpas who assembled in the school auditorium, it was celebration time laced with tears of joy.
The well-coordinated efforts of the teachers, students and staff and the zealous participation of the grandparents made the event a grand success. The programme titled 'Vandanam' was the brainchild of Sister Gracelyn, the principal of the school. “It is the condition of elderly, who spent their days alone at homes longing wistfully for the occasional visit of their children who have migrated to greener pastures abroad,” she cited the reason behind the gesture.
When these grand parents entered the school campus their little children lined up on either side to escort them to the auditorium. Flowers and gifts were then showered on them. Sr. Jeanine, Dr. Ipe Varghese and Fr. Bijo addressed the audience. It was sheer coincidence that T.K Thomas, a retired teacher and grandfather of Ben and Benitta of the school, had his 90th birthday on the same day. A cake was cut a on the stage to celebrate the occasion.
Abdul Salim & Sahira Beevi, grandparents of Sadheem, were the oldest couple in the group. They all were honoured by adorning them with a shawl (Ponnada). These grand old men and women at this unexpected show of affection in their twilight years. A magic show and several other programmes were presented by the students before a grand feast.
“Two of the elderly visitors spoke on the occasion, while three grandparents sang on the stage. All the grandparents were send off with gifts and a handful of memories the elderly would treasure for ever,” Sheeba, one of the teachers who coordinated the event told Onmanorama.
“The emotional outburst and the magnitude of the impact from such an honour reflected on the comments penned by the grandparents on the visitors' register to convey their opinion and reaction about the programme,” said Sr. Gracelyn.“Many of them loaded their words with deep love and gratitude for the event.”
While many expressed gratitude for organising such an event and involving them in it others lauded the school for showing concern for the elderly people and their woes. Though it was an one-off event conceptualised by the school, it opens up a vista of possibilities for organizations, educational institutions or even corporates to provide joy to the aged population. This was indeed a priceless gesture.