KOCHI: Malathy G Menon is an aspiring drummer. For an 81-year-old Hindi teacher-turned dance instructor, this could be an extremely unusual choice of musical instrument, especially since this is usually mastered by the young.
However, the pioneer of the Pinnal Thiruvathira dance form in Kerala, says that she is still very young at heart and is on a mission to fulfill her desire.
Malathy learned that women could also play the drums when she saw her daughter’s friend, Usha Gopalakrishnan, perform with a band during her college days 25 years ago. “This thought stuck in my mind ever since,” she said. “However, I was too occupied to pursue this fascination, since I had to look after two ageing mothers at home,apart from my children.”
Malathy kept her dreams on hold till her daughter and son got married. It was after retirement that she decided to pursue all her interests, which included learning the piano, idakka, chenda and now the jazz.
And when Malathy’s grand nephew, Shyam Mohan, started learning drums at a very young age, it inspired her even more.
“I never knew of any music classes which I could attend and waited for Shyam to teach me. I started a few lessons with him since October last year, but since he was posted for training in the Army, the lessons stopped,” said Malathy. “However, he referred me to his jazz teacher, Jolly sir where I now take my lessons.”
When ‘Express’ meets her at the music class, she is busy saying, ‘One, two, three, four...one, two, three, four’, as she prepares to hit the drums. Her enthusiasm is impressive to watch.
Jolly Antony who runs Music Club school in Kochi has some interesting words to say about his oldest pupil.
“There are children as young as six who are attending classes. However, Malathy teacher is made up of a different material altogether. She comes from another generation, but there is a certain sense of confidence and she is not afraid to make any mistakes. Her love for learning is very inspiring,” he says. Her motto, is simple, however. “I never find any task too daunting. I believe that I am able to do everything. You should also be like this. This is what I tell all the youngsters. Don’t be lazy. Always be hungry to learn more,” she says.