The West Hill Sub-Registrar office here was witness to a special wedding on Thursday. A.S. Radhakrishna Pillai, aged 90, and Radha, in her 60s, tied the knot in the presence of social activists and well-wishers.

Then came a volley of questions, even jokes, and the khadi-clad bridegroom, a freedom-fighter from Wayanad, fielded them all with aplomb. “I have arranged a rented house at Mayanad and we will move there today itself,” said Mr. Pillai, warmly greeting his guests and thanking all for support. In between, he also checked their travel arrangements and supervised the simple reception at a nearby hotel. He commented to his young friends about his “still young” eyesight, and took off his chic spectacles as if to clarify. The passion for late-night reading was intact, he added.

For Radha, it was an “unexpected invite” to the life of a man nearly 30 years senior to her. She was the eldest of a five-member family. After the marriage of her sisters and the death of her parents, she was all alone.

“I was working as an Anganwadi helper. The proposal came through some friends,” said Radha. He was a widower for 30-odd years. “He wanted to pass on the Central and State pension benefits to a poor woman after his death. For legal reasons, marriage was found to be the best solution,” a close friend of Mr. Pillai said.

However, Mr. Pillai’s five children from his first wife skipped the function.

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