A Class X dropout, he has been encouraging generations to learn English. O Abootty, 59, who belongs to Kannur, has penned many books and columns relating to English, helping people across regions to learn the language.
It was while in class VI that Abootty took a fancy to English. “While in UP class, I remember my teacher wrongly interpreting the meaning of ‘lightning and thunder’. Though I understood the error, I was scared to correct my teacher. I told it to my benchmate and he raised the doubt in the class. I took pride when the teacher corrected his mistake,” Abootty recalls his school days.
“Right from my childhood, I used to spend hours checking the meaning of words in dictionaries,” he adds.
After high school, he discontinued his formal education and dedicated most of his time to the study of the English language, especially grammar, with the help of books.
Though initially he started writing articles on various subjects in different periodicals, he later concentrated on writing only about English.
Abootty has served as an English teacher in various institutions for around 25 years. Kozhikode District and Sessions Judge Dr Kauser Edappagath, who was a student of Abootty in pre-degree class, shared his experience with his beloved teacher.
“I didn’t even know the fundamentals of English when I completed basic education from a government school in Kannur. It was he who taught me the basics of language which have always helped and influenced me in my life thereafter. Even now, I happily ring him to clear doubts,” says the Judge.
Abootty has published around 30 books, of which nine are exclusively in English. He has written columns and books on recreational linguistics.
His articles on English have been published in some language-oriented magazines, including ‘Verbatim’, a quarterly from the US and the UK. Abootty owns a good collection of books in his home library.