Four elderly women from Azhikode in Kannur are neighbours and have one mind when it comes to travel. These grandmas are exploring places despite their age limits and limited budget.
Their finance for the trips are found from the money given by their children. They reserve from the money given by their children for various household purposes to fund the journeys.
Puthalath Karthyayani, Chimminiyan Saraswathi, Kalarickal Usha and Mulankandi Ramani are neighbours at Onden Road near Azhikode. These firebrand women are enjoying their lives in a unique way which is strange to many of the people of their generation.
70-year-old Karthyayani said the four have been travelling together since they were young.
Until now, the four-member women group has visited Kanyakumari, Kollur, Tirupati, Kanchipuram, Thanjavur, Ooty, Kodaikanal, Palani, Mathura, Agra, Taj Mahal, Golden Temple in Amritsar and New Delhi. Everywhere, they travel without the help of a guide.
Selection of the destination is the first phase of trip. Further they check the availability of each four and fix a date. As the day comes, together they set off. Majority of journeys are in second class by train, explained 64-year-old Saraswathy.
“We subscribe ‘Mathrubhumi Yathra’. This inspires and helps us in our journey”, said 50-year-old Usha.
Karthyayani has some knowledge in Hindi and Tamil and is able to speak in both languages a bit. She learnt them while her husband Manikkara Narayanan was working in Mumbai many years back. As he died, she returned to Kerala.
The four began travelling in 2011. In the eight years’ period, they visited about 100 places across India. “We don’t have any age-related ailments. During the course of journey, we haven’t faced any kind of diseases and challenges so far”, said Karthyayani.
“We don’t hire any expensive rooms in hotels. Mostly, we depend on temple accommodation and free food from temples. We have visited main temples in Kerala. These journeys during old age arouse enthusiasm and excitement among us,” explained 63-year-old Ramani.
On May 25, 2019, the four have made their first flight journey from Kannur international airport to Hyderabad. Now, they are preparing to fly to Varanasi during Navaratri holidays.
All four have married children. Husbands of Ramani and Saraswathi died earlier. Kalarickal Mohandas is the husband of Usha.
Though Usha and Mohandas travel together rarely, he is not against the wishes of Usha.