Adversities and opponents have not been able to break his spirit. Neither has age. V.S. Achuthanandan, as usual, quietly stepped into another year of “rebellion” here on Saturday.
The Leader of Opposition, who turned 89 on Saturday, was his customary self, without giving into demands from followers for a birthday celebration and settling in for a rather quiet day with his family at Cantonment House here.
A telephone call from Defence Minister A.K. Antony and a visit from Speaker G. Karthikeyan with a colourful bouquet of flowers marked the beginning of the day.
Poet Sugathakumari arrived soon after, wishing him warmly and then, touching his feet to pay her respects.
Despite the continuous flashing of still cameras and the constant glare of television cameras, there was no change in his routine. He began with his regular yoga session and walk at 5 a.m. and continued with the simple tasks to which he had stuck for the past several decades, including a bare minimum menu for meals.
The octogenarian, who believes that he has always tried to understand the problems of the people and to stand with them, chose not to speak politics or to answer probing questions.
Still, the voice that had sent political circles, including his own party, into a tizzy on many an occasion, could not keep quiet even on such a day. There was a byte on the Kochi Metro Rail controversy and also a demand for withdrawal of cases against passengers of the Air India flight that ran into trouble on Friday.
Sitting for lunch with the family, Mr. Achuthanandan also made sure every visitor and media personnel present had a cup of payasam. A few lines expressing his gratitude apart from indicating in a lighter vein that “since everything had went on fine”, it was time for everyone to depart.