Some twenty destitute mothers, yesterday, were given more pain than what they could stomach. These mothers, now sheltered by an old age home under the Alleppey Corporation were sobbing for Kalabhavan Mani, whom they have embraced with much love, might not have been as much hurt when they were forsaken by their own children.
Four years ago, on the International day for the Elderly, Manorama had brought out the wish of the inhabitants of the Santhimandiram to meet actor Kalabhavan Mani in person. When asked what their last wish would be, they didn’t demand a last meeting with their sons or daughters but instead to spend some time with the beloved actor. What made him so adorable to these desolate women were not just the folksongs or his ready wits but also his humane ability to empathize with the bereft. Though Mani had found out about them through Manorama news he couldn’t visit them any sooner.
Mani had kept these wishes at heart for about four months before he could act on it finally. He didn’t go them them empty handed, he had remembered to bring them food as well as clothes. He shared his love for them by keeping them in his embrace while he sung for them his songs that they longed for. And he finally had to take leave he couldn’t hide his tears.
As he sung for them “Umbaikochandhye..”, one of his most favored folksongs , Saroginiamma could help but tear up through her now blinded eyes, as all of them knew about Mani’s penury ridden childhood tales, where he followed his father onto the field for the day’s work. These stories had a prevailing force over others that they had to share with the visitors. His stories were the ones that they shared even in their moments of leisure and solitude. His promise to return, as he left Santhimandir conceding their love and blessings, are but tear stained memories now.