It was when the taxi driver applied a sudden break, he woke up. An old man was trapped in front of his car. Driver started shouting, “Why can’t these oldies sit at home? Simply coming out to block other’s way”. The man sitting behind the driver was in his seventies. His name was MCV Bhattathiripad. Driver’s words were like a blow for him. He decided to do something for senior citizens around him.
As a result, in 1993, Kerala Senior Citizens Forum was formed in Kuthuparamba, a small town in Kannur. MCV Bhattathiripad was the founder president. Now it is the only registered senior citizen’s organization in Kerala with more than one lakh members. From the day of formation, it is always in forefront to fight for the needs of the old. Even after MCV’s death in 2007, the Forum is working out well under new leadership.
All these are materialistic facts about MCV Bhattathiripad and his organization. For me and my cousins, he was a loving grand father. We could ask anything to him. He prepared long speeches and essays which we presented in our schools and colleges. His writing style was so simple, but hard to imitate. His flow of language, whether it is English or Malayalam, was simply superb.
He used to write letters for us and he will be extremely delighted when we reply though we rarely do. I’ve kept his letters safely in my file. Reading those letters give me an energy and courage to tackle the word ‘impossible’.
On the day of his demise, people from all the spheres flowed to his house. Schools were closed and harthal was declared in Kuthuparamba mourning his death. Next day, Mathrubhumi wrote editorial about him. He was a regular column writer in that daily. Other dailies also wrote write ups and follow ups on him. It was then we realized demise of him was a big loss for the society too.
We never knew he was such a popular public figure until his death. He never boasted about his popularity. He was an advocate by profession and a graduate in English literature. He had written five books describing the difficulties faced by senior citizens in society. These books were appreciated by eminent personalities.
He really cared for our little things and had an amazing patience in analyzing them. He corrected my articles. He was the one who encouraged me to write and I’m always committed to him for whatever I scribble. The enthusiasm he had in learning new technologies surprised us always. I still remember how he appreciated me after teaching him how to send SMS.
Vallyachan, as we call him, was our strength, power and of course our pride. We are still finding it hard to fill that emptiness. His smile that had a healing power, his advice, his care, his love… missing everything!!!
I don’t have a photo of my Vallyachan to upload. None of us have kept his photos with us as we still believe he is with us. Yes…he is with us; guiding and blessing us to serve ourselves and the society!
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