Own My Growth

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The Inspiring Life Of Karthiyaniamma

Karthiyaniamma At 96

Karthiyaniamma Krishnapilla is a 99 year old great grandmother hailing from a small village in Kerala in India. All her active life, Karthiyaniamma was a menial laborer cleaning temples in the vicinity of her village. And, till a few years back, she was illiterate.

All this changed in the year 2016. Her 51-year-old daughter Amminiamma who was also illiterate passed her Tenth Equivalent Examination, after attending an adult school.

The “can-do” spirit of her daughter inspired Karthiyaniamma. 

“If my daughter can educate herself at the age of 51, why cannot I learn and grow?” she thought to herself. She was 93 years old then.

Being frail and unable to attend school, Karthiyaniamma decided to enroll the help of two of her great-grandchildren –12-year-old Aparna and 9-year-old Anjana — to home school her. She displayed the same enthusiasm in learning that the two young kids had in teaching her. For her, age was just a number. 

Karthiyaniamma was not content just learning to read, write, and calculate. She wanted to achieve something more. To challenge her limits, she decided to appear for the Kerala Literacy Board’s common equivalent exam. In the Year 2018, at the young age of 96, Karthiyaniamma took the Class 6 Equivalent exam along with 43330 other kids. 

Here’s the incredible part of the story. Karthiyaniamma topped the exams scoring a whopping 98% of the Maximum score possible.

Many think learning is only for youngsters and it’s not possible to learn anything new as they age. The story of Karthiyaniamma debunks this fallacy.

“I am too busy to learn anything new; I have a career to manage, my best years are behind me, I am not good enough”. These are excuses many of us give ourselves to shirk the responsibility to learn and grow. We are hostage mentally and emotionally to a fixed mindset.

Yesterday, I wrote about successful people coming with a Student’s Mindset. Karthiyaniamma is the best possible example of someone with a Student’s Mindset. No matter her social status, she captures the spirit of what success in life looks like.

Today, she is 99 years old and computer literate, continuing her education Online using the Laptop the Government awarded her. She is preparing to appear for the Class 7 Equivalent Exams this year. And, she aspires to complete her 10th Board Equivalent Examination like her daughter.

The biggest tribute we can all give Karthiyaniamma– be inspired to learn and grow for as long as we live. 

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