Autumn of the matriarch: Women in their 90s and 100s are scripting stories of resilience and cheer in Kerala

One keeps hearing terrible stories regarding State of women and girl child in the country. There has to be zero tolerance towards this ongoing nonsense.

Given the doom there are some bloom stories as well. P. Anima has a piece in Hindu which raises goose-pimples and makes one so proud. It tells the stories of these women in 90s and 100s which will give today’s millennials a run for money:

From leading a political party at the age of 100 to learning to write at 97, Kerala’s nonagenarian and centenarian women are scripting plucky stories by doggedly keep pace with life despite crushing personal losses

Read the whole piece and say wow, Cheers to their spirit.
This story in particular of Karthiyayani Amma wanting to study at 97 is quite something:

When Karthiyayani Amma sings ABCD, it is in a firm and clear voice. The 97-year-old from Alappuzha is the poster girl for education of the elderly, having cleared the literacy mission’s Std III equivalent examination last year with a score of 98 out of 100. She received the certificate from chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan. “The CM casually asked her if she wanted anything. She responded with, ‘I want a computer’,” says Sathi K, the mission’s field official. A computer was soon brought to her home by the state’s education minister, who inaugurated it by making her write her name in English.

When Sathi was conducting a survey on possible candidates for the literacy mission in 2017, Karthiyayani Amma expressed her desire to join the programme. “I saw small children studying and thought why not me,” says Karthiyayani Amma.

“These are women who did not have the opportunity to study. Subsequently, it became a wish they had set aside,” says PS Sreekala, director, State Literacy Mission. Not having the chance to learn did not mean they abandoned the desire to study, she adds. “They allowed their age-old wish to come true when they got an opportunity.” The mission conducts classes at home for the very old. The curriculum breaks conventional norms and is based on an exchange of ideas, experiences and skills. “We only need to teach them letters; they are rich in life experiences,” Sreekala adds.

Karthiyayani Amma says she wants to finish Std X and try for a job. “People might take her statement lightly, but she is not bothered,” says Sreekala. Instead, she has become an example in her neighbourhood and elsewhere, inspiring many to study. “It takes women the luxury of advanced age to discover their independence and the strength to overcome obstacles,” Sreekala reasons.

The nonagenarian is a diligent student who sits in her room and studies when the others watch television. The student now has her hands full, having enrolled for the next level. The curriculum is tougher with courses in English, Malayalam, mathematics and environment studies. “Malayalam I can manage, I may find English a little tough to crack,” Karthiyayani Amma says.

The 97-year-old student doesn’t need glasses. “She doesn’t wear slippers, goes walking everywhere and eats only vegetarian food,” Sathi adds. Her diet consists largely of green leafy vegetables. “I always find her either collecting firewood, sweeping the yard or peeling onions,” says Sathi, who is all geared up to help her clear her Std IV examination.

It is not how you start but how you end is what matters!

One Response to “Autumn of the matriarch: Women in their 90s and 100s are scripting stories of resilience and cheer in Kerala”

  1. Pallavi Singh Says:

    This was a lovely read, fresh breeze given all the violence reports from Unnao. P Anima is a college senior.

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