I met Ms.Parvathi Thampi earlier this year in connection with a story the magazine ‘Dignity Dialogue’ was doing on Spirit of Fun and Senior citizens.
Tall, slim and trim in her mid eighties Parvathi Thampi’s smile and joie de virve appear infectious and she comes through as an extremely positive person with a great sense of humour when you talk to her. She is the daughter of the late K.P.S.Menon, I.C.S. She studied in Lady Irwin College in Delhi ,later underwent a course in Chinese language in Ginling University in China and lived in the U.S. for many years as her husband was employed in the U.N. They shifted to Madras in the late seventies and ever since have been living in their sprawling bungalow in Kilpauk surrounded by a lot of greenery with a statue of a deer in its midst .
Her day begins with doing basic exercises learnt in Russia, she calls them slow aerobics and Shiatsu which she learnt in America, it is acupressure she adds.
Every summer she along with her three sisters and niece( “the youngest in the group”, she smiles) go to Nelliampatti, a hill station in Kerala .People see them in awe (probably its admiration) when they alight from the car at the cottage with the help of their “aids”to support them —a walker , handstick and all .One sister has osteoporosis another glaucoma, the third hypertension, she laughs ( in the one hour I spent with her, she never for once spoke about her complaints, I guess she had none usually associated with age because of her positive attitude to life).
They have a senior citizens club and meet in one of the member’s homes –where they play games, have a quiz, but nothing much to eat, but this is made up in the 50-50 club where the first 50 is for entertainment, a budding musician performs and the second half consists of dinner, which they enjoy to their heart’s content. The siblings have birthday bashes and the high point is when they receive gifts from their loved ones.
She celebrated her 84th. Birthday(sathabishekam) at Green Meadows, a resort in Chennai when all her sisters from different places made it a point to attend.
She is a patron of the Music Academy and looks forward to the music season and attends Madras Book club meetings where new books are launched, reads a lot, (she has just finished reading the book on Obama.)
She has written two children’s books herself, published by the leading publisher in the U.S.—Double Day. Her article featured in an Anthology published in the U.S. where 50 best articles were carried. It was on Birth of a baby, Moscow style.
n.meera raghavendra rao