80-yr-old Australian lady stays in Kerala to learn Malayalam
Kochi: When many Keralites prefer not to love their mother tongue, 80-year-old Australian citizen Catherine has blazed a trail by staying in Kerala just for learning Malayalam. She had been staying here for three months since January, but had to return to her son in Singapore as her visa expired. Later, she came back with renewed visa only to learn the language.
Catherine came here with a travellers group for Ayurveda treatment. Then she visited Cherayi beach. She was already enchanted by the culture and arts of Kerala. She stayed at the house of Cherayi native K. B. Rajeev with his family. Rajeev has been a Literacy Motivator (Sakshratha Prerak) for the past 20 years.
Catherine believes that a culture can be imbibed only when the local language is learnt. So, she sought help from Rajeev to learn the language. She enrolled in Literacy Mission and started learning Malayalam. Now she is able to read and write Malayalam alphabets. Now she is on a mission to learn words and their meanings.
Catherine is very enthusiastic to learn the words people use in daily life and to try speaking them. She comfortably says sentences like ‘Enik Chaya Venam’ (I want some tea). It was hard for her to eat food using hands. But she practiced it within two days and now eats with her hands. She loves to eat Kerala food and to wear Kerala style clothes.
She had found statue of Sree Narayana Guru during her journey and searched more about his life and ideology on the internet. Impressed by the doctrines he upheld, Catherine wants to visit Sivagiri. “I want to know more about Malayalam and Keralites and this culture. Even if I have to go to my place some time, I will come back to learn it,” She said.