Thalassery: 75-year-old Pankajakshi didn't look flustered at all when she donned the swimming gear for the first time. It took only months for this septuagenarian to learn swimming and now she is as good as any young and energetic swimmer. Pankajakshi's yearning to learn doesn't end here. She registered for the 10th standard equivalency exam and gave education another shot. Though she didn't get the minimum marks to pass for mathematics, this CPI leader is not ready to give up. The grandmother is preparing for her upcoming exams which she is determined to pass.
A native of Parapram and former president of the Pinarayi panchayat council, Pankajakshi had accompanied her grand children to the pond at Kathirur temple where they were training in swimming. As she watched more than 100 people swimming effortlessly, Pankajakshi thought that she too could give it a try. She didn't hesitate to convey her wish to the aquatic club officials. They encouraged her by assuring that they were ready to train her if she was confident.
However, she was discouraged by her children initially as Pankajakshi suffered from heart ailment. But she couldn't sit peacefully on the banks of the pond watching people swim merrily. She managed to find out suitable swimming clothes for her and took the plunge without the knowledge of her children. It only took a month for this grandmother to learn swimming well. Then Pankajakshi wanted to do a cartwheel into the pool, and that too was achieved. Now she has been trained to do backstrokes as well.
Pankajakshi, who was labourer at a beedi factory dropped out of school at class 5. Later she passed the 7th standard equivalency through the literacy mission. Though she wrote the 10th standard equivalency exam last year, she didn't pass in Mathematics. A social worker, Pankajakshi is active in the political front as well. She is a member of the CPI Pinarayi local committee and branch secretary of the Kerala Mahila Sangham. She is also the president of the women's wing in Thalassery and president of the Parapram women's cooperative society. Pankajakshi has 5 children, including N Usha who is a member of the CPI district governing body and state joint secretary of the Kerala Mahila Sangham.