Kottayam: A G Saseendran is no longer wandering the streets without an address. Gone are the days when the penniless ex-serviceman, afflicted with dementia, had to wait for a stranger's kindness to keep his body and soul together.
His life has taken a turn for the good and the 70-year-old got back his memory. Tears rolled down his eyes as he walked up the stairs of the Defence Pension Disbursing Office (DPDO) to collect his pension arrears of the last 16 years- Rs 21.61 lakh.
“Finally, I feel I belong to this world,” said an emotional Saseendran as the DPDO officers accorded him a warm welcome with a shawl and garlands. He was then taken inside by Senior Auditor Ajith Bhaskar and Auditor V K Mohandas, the duo who had taken the initiative to search and track the ex-serviceman, to formally ‘identify’ him.
Malayala Manorama had on Thursday reported the real-life story of DPDO officials tracking Saseendran, a native of Mannar Pavukkara Thamravelil Padinjattithil in Alappuzha district, after their long efforts to find the missing ex-serviceman bore fruits. The daily also carried the news of his receiving the lumpsum amount as pension arrears. In fact, Saseendran himself came to know about the fortunes through Manorama News.
He was asked to come to the DPDO to complete the procedures before hand over of the sum. Saseendran had served in the Army as a ‘Driver’ in the ‘Corps of Signals’ wing. He had not much savings left when he returned to his native land after retirement. He spent his hard-earned money to marry off his three sisters. He didn’t have even the time to marry as he was busy toiling hard to take care of his family. He got a job in the SBT, where he worked for 12 years. But he lost it after continuously failing to report for duty. He then turned into a lorry driver and his memory began fading during one of his trips.
Saseendran, who suffered memory loss, couldn’t recollect his native place as he wandered in Kottayam town. Two years ago, a relief home took him in. The home warden recovered from him his identity card, which proved that he is an ex-serviceman.
The warden went with Saseendran to the DPDO to collect his pension. Then, they were running from pillar to post to arrange for all the required documents – Aadhar, pan card, a certificate of the district police chief, etc. However, Saseendran went missing from this relief centre.
The DPDO officials then undertook an intense search for him for two years before finally tracking him to Santhi Bhavan in Kottayam. Saseendran is currently staying at the house of his sister Vilasini. He plans to deposit the amount in the bank for now.