A ‘shloka’ in sanskrit, equates ‘Guru’ (teacher) to the holy trinity of ‘Bramha’, ‘Vishnu’ and ‘Shiva’, and the supreme God ‘Param Bramha’. But very few people remember their teachers, once they’re out of school. Private school teachers aren’t paid well, and many of them live in poverty, while their students earn plentiful. Many of them suffer a lot during their old age.
One such retired school teacher named Valsa, was recently found begging at the Thiruvananthapuram railway station. On November 5th, Vidya M.R, a government employee who had gone there to meet her friend, found her. She thought that Valsa was a mentally disabled woman, as she was wearing and carrying dirty clothes and water bottles, and was plucking fruits from a tree.
However, once she talked to her, she was shocked to know about Valsa being an educated woman, who had retired after working for a long time, at a school in Malappuram. Vidya brought idli and vada for her, as she looked hungry. She also posted Valsa’s pictures on Facebook, asking people to share it, so that someone from her school might help her.
Upon seeing the post, some of Valsa’s old students contacted Vidya, and together they were able to find her. They took her to Thambanoor Police Station. When Sub-Collector Divya S. Iyer got to know about the case, she took Valsa to ‘Sayahnam’, an old age home managed by local corporation. Though many of her students want to take her along, Valsa only wants to go home, with her son and husband.
Divya says, Valsa has been abandoned by family, which is crime under Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007. Kerala has highest number of old people, at 13% of total population as per 2011 census. Thiruvananthapuram records most cases, with 1,000 of them being pending, when she had joined. Divya is trying to find out Valsa’s son and husband. The Youth hopes she gets successful.