It is where the elders meet every day. Under the shelter of the Gandhi Bhavan at Kacheripady, about 10-30 elders meet each other every day, exchanging news, views, sharing joys and sorrows.
With the Kochi Metro Rail Limited having acquired the space, the vibrant Pakal Veedu is looking for a new venue. The convenor of Pakal Veedu, P. G. Krishnan Nair says that it is of great concern that the space is being lost. “We have approached the District Collector and the managing director of KMRL and are hoping to get a new shelter soon,” he says.
However, the concern of the Pakal Veedu members is not just the space but also free infrastructure that Gandhi Bhavan had provided so far. It could become taxing on the members if the space and other infrastructure would have to be funded, says Mr. Nair.
We hope the Gandhi Bhavan, wherever it is relocated, would continue to provide space for Pakal Veedu, he says. Location is not a big concern as the main objective of the movement is to engage the elderly fruitfully.
It has become a home away from home for these men and women who in their twilight years have found a new meaning in their daily routines. Pakal Veedu that began on November 1, 2010, comes alive every day between 10.30 and 2.30 p.m.
Discussions on the socio-political situations have become a regular feature every Thursday. There are about 150 people registered in Pakal Veedu, of which 50 are women.
There are no mandatory rules, says Mr. Nair. Pakal Veedu runs mainly on voluntary donations from members, though there is no rule on fee.
Pavizham Madhavan Nair, 92, wife of the late Gandhian K.P. Madhavan Nair, is the oldest member at Pakal Veedu. There are also members in their 80s who take an active interest in the activities, says V. P. G. Marar, secretary of the Gandhi Bhavan and a Pakal Veedu member.
P. V. Madhavan Pillai, K. N. Bahuleyan, R. Paramu are all convenors taking care of food and recreation activities for Pakal Veedu.
Advocate M. R. Rajendran Nair, a member of Gandhi Bhavan committee and a promoter of Pakal Veedu, the activities keep the elderly engaged. Many had worked in key positions and are brimming with ideas during discussions, he says.