"I am busier than ever, even at this age. And I firmly believe that is what keeps me healthy and positive," Malathy teacher says.

Drumming her way into hearts 80-yr-olds Chenda debut on Vijaya Dashami
news #LifeGoals Thursday, October 13, 2016 - 08:41

Malathy ‘Teacher’ -as she is popularly known- is all smiles when she begins to talk about her debut ‘chenda’ (drum) performance on Tuesday before the deity at a famous Devi temple in Ernakulam. Even at the ripe old age of 80, this Ernakulam native is busy teaching as well as learning.

Malathy is no stranger to Malayalis, as she has time and again proved her dancing prowess in Thiruvaathira –a traditional dance form in Kerala. This time however, she chose to literally sway to the beats of the drum when she held the two ‘chendakkol’ (drum-sticks) in her hands to beat out a rhythmic tune on the chenda.

In India, Vijaya Dashami is considered an auspicious day to begin any new activity. It is on this day that children are initiated into the world of learning and art. 

For Malathy G Menon, who was a Hindi school teacher for most of her adult life, her retirement at the age of 55 meant that she had more than enough time to start learning again. 

"After retiring from service and after all my three children had been married off and were settled in their lives, I began to study ‘edakka’ (a traditional musical instrument) and keyboard. I have always wanted to learn to play the chenda, just for the sheer thrill of doing so. But I had heard that it was difficult when compared to other instruments, and so wanted to start off with simpler ones," Malathy teacher shares, while speaking to The News Minute in her customary fast-paced style of talking.

When asked whether her debut performance -after a year of study- meant that she was now qualified to stage ‘public’ performances, she laughs shyly: "Oh no, I did not learn the chenda for that. It was out of sheer curiosity. Even now, I only play under the guidance of my guru." 

Even at the age of 80, -she says- she is blessed with good health to be able to take care of both her husband and herself. She continues to teach Thiruvathira to women, something that she began at the age of 21.

Proudly declaring that she has taught more than 10,000 women so far, Malathy is a vibrant bundle of life: "I am busier than ever, even at this age. And I firmly believe that is what keeps me healthy and positive.”

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