There were smiles all around as the Kochi Metro organised a ‘special’ ride on Sunday, exclusively for special children and the inmates of old-age homes. Nearly 450 students from 43 special schools in the city were part of the ‘happy journey’ along with elderly residents of the Government supervised old-age homes from around Kochi travelled in the ride, and the happiness was reflected on their faces as they travelled from Kalamassery to Aluva.

Among them were children affected by autism, cerebral palsy as well as physical disabilities. Reshma Nair, a visually challenged girl, had never imagined she would be able to travel in the ‘sky boat’ and was elated to be inside a metro coach. “I can’t express my joy in words. The Metro is completely visually-impaired-friendly. We can easily travel by ourselves following the instructions imprinted in Braille,” says the Keezhumad native.

Photos – Kochi Metro FB Page

“Happiness is seeing your children smile,” says Dr P A Mary Anitha, Chairman of Centre For Empowerment and Enrichment (CEFEE), who jointly organised the ride along with Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL). She adds, “I thank the KMRL for bringing our children to the mainstream by making them a part of history. This will be the best day in the lives of every one of these children. They were treated in a really special way.”

Geethu Menon, affected by cerebral palsy, found the ride a confidence booster. “I am different but not any less than the others. I felt that it is true after traveling in the Metro. Happy to know that we have been considered while designing the coach. We could step in and out of the coaches comfortably,” she says. The special kids were helped by the volunteers of CEFEE.

And for senior citizen Annama Chedathi, for whom getting out of her old age home itself was a dream, the Metro was an unbelievable experience. Her surprise was doubled when she saw actress Rajisha Vijayan in the ‘fantasy’ ride. “I was bored in the old age home. I am someone who always wanted to travel and experience new things when young. When I saw the news about the Metro, I never thought I would be travelling in it one day. And it is happening!”

The ride was a colourful one with the children bringing with them balloons, and shaking a leg inside the coaches. Minister Shylaja inaugurated the event by cutting a cake made in the shape of a metro train.

The Metro will be open for the public from 6 am today.