An evening of Cheran's latest offering

THOUGHTFUL GESTURE: Elderly women receive saris as Pongal gifts in Pondicherry.

THOUGHTFUL GESTURE: Elderly women receive saris as Pongal gifts in Pondicherry.  

Deepa H Ramakrishnan

Old people were given tickets to the movie, saris and dhotis

PONDICHERRY: That evening, a group of 77 elders belonging to day care centres run by Holistic approach for People's Empowerment (Hope), a non-governmental organisation, were touched by director-actor Cheran's latest offering Thavamaai Thavamirundhu. They were moved by the movie screened at Balaji Theatre in Pondicherry.

The movie screening was a Pongal gift to the elders, who rarely get to move out of their villages. Muniammal, one of the women who watched the film, said that it had been years since she had seen films. "When we were young we used to go to films but now we stay at home to take care of the grandchildren. The story in the film seemed so realistic. It was like watching our lives in the movie," she said.

Another elderly lady, who had come with her mother, said the film made her realise that education was an important aspect of a person's life and that parents must understand that it is the best wealth that they can pass on to their children.

Saris and dhotis given

After the screening, the women were given saris and blouses and the men dhotis and shirts. The theatre owner, Lucky Perumal, presented the clothes on behalf of Hope in the presence of P. Joseph Victor Raj, director, Hope, and A. Mary Victoria, administrator.

Hope has been running two day care centres, with the support of German development organisation ILD-KLB, at Periya Kalapet and Panithittu since August 2005.

"These are mainly tsunami-affected areas of Pondicherry. The elders were not cared for much in the aftermath of the tsunami. Though there has been a lot of aid from the Government and NGOs, nobody looked out for these elders. Most of these people don't get the special care that they require.

We just wanted an opportunity to start day care centres in these places and the tsunami relief came our way," says Mr. Victor Raj.

"Though many of these men and women have problems with their sons- and daughters-in-law they prefer to go home and come only in the mornings. Some of them even bring their grandchildren. We give them lunch. While at the centre, activists from our child care centres come to the day care centres to engage the children in activities such as simple games and paper cutting," says Ms. Victoria.

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