KOCHI: “Mummy where are we going?” Revathi kept asking her parents as they boarded the flight that would take them to Kerala. And when her parents told her they are going back to India and will not be returning to Israel, she was shocked. “Why?” she asked. She argued fervently and said, “No, Israel is our home!” Little Revathi couldn’t imagine leaving a country that she came to think of as her domicile and coming to a new place, meeting new people and above all communicating in a language that she wasn’t very fluent.
But Revathi and her brother Sachit, who know only Hebrew and English, have set out on a new journey, albeit, an academic one at Padivattom Govt LP School. The sister-brother duo has joined Class III and I at the school.
They are slowly coming to realise that they are Indians, says Revathi’s mother Vijee. “The kids were infants when we came to Israel. So, they consider it their home country and Hebrew their mother-tongue. The only people they came in contact with while staying in Israel were the natives. Even the school they went to didn’t have any Indians,” says Vijee.
However, since it is said that kids are resilient, Revathi and Sachit are slowly but steadily coming to terms with the language and culture of the country that till April was foreign to them. “They are learning to read, talk and write Malayalam at the school. But, the kids have not completely severed their ties with Israel. Revathi reads Hebrew books that we have brought back with us and also calls up her friends in Israel,” said Vijee who was doing research in biotechnology in Israel.
“We lived in Israel for three years. Both I and my husband Anil were doing research in biotechnology. However, once we finished our research we wanted to return home instead of hunting for jobs there. We felt that if we reside in Israel, our kids will never get to know their heritage, language and culture. In Israel, the medium of communication is Hebrew, English comes only a close second. So, we decided to come back,” said Vijee. They enrolled the kids in Padivattom Govt LP School instead of a private school.
“I feel, government school today have the facilities and infrastructure at par with any private school. Even the syllabus is good,” she said. If you take a look at the results of UPSC, PSC and other competitive examinations, you will be able to see that the majority of those who have cleared them had studied in government or aided schools, she added.
“Padivattom Govt LP School is Malayalam medium but the teachers here are ensuring their students are at par with those children in English medium schools. As far as Revathi and Sachit are concerned, the teachers are a big help,” said Anil, the children’s father.