“I’m just a little bit caught in the middle
Life is a maze and love is a riddle
I don’t know where to go I can’t do it alone I’ve tried
And I don’t know why”

Those words are from ‘The Show’ by Lenka, one of my favorite songs and I believe those words are true. Life is really a maze. We just don’t know where we would end up until we reach the spot. I always wanted to be a great entrepreneur and I have been doing business for more than 8 years now. I have been into various fields and life has taught me great lessons. I have been a web security Consultant, a web developer, an inventor, a business mentor, a motivational speaker but in my wildest dreams I ever imagined I would become a trainer, training people and empowering them with a tool that I once never thought would master, ‘English.’

If you had read my short autobiography [Who am I? A Short Autobiography of Rohith Namboothiri] , you would know that I lived in Sharjah for a while and being a kid, I picked up English from my friends. My parents often said I spoke good English and that made me happy and proud. But soon life took a turn when we shifted to Trivandrum, Kerala.

Kerala being a cultural rich state still has got lots of white space when it comes to English as a spoken language. Though I studied in an English medium school in Trivandrum, the language was never spoken there and me who knew the language was much appreciated by my teachers and that made me really happy. ‘When in Rome, do like the Romans do’ idiom became true and there never was a need for me to speak in English. I never realized that I was slowly loosing my edge over the language until my life took another drastic twist.

It was in 2005, that it all began. It was a cool day. Around 7:30 AM, a school bus was roaring through the calm streets of Bangalore ( not that calm :D)You could have heard absolutely no noise from the kids inside the bus as it was their first day in school. Not only their first day even the school’s first day. It was a brand new school, fresh start. There were many students in the yellow painted mini bus with Royale Concorde International School painted along its side. One among them was me. I was in 8th then, It was my first day in Bangalore. After spending almost four years in Kerala, we shifted to Bangalore.

The bus reached the school at around 9:30 AM. it was supposed to reach an hour early but we were terribly late. Can’t really blame any one as its was a new school and first day for the drivers. They needed to get a clear idea of the routes, so naturally they got delayed picking up students, hearing & watching their parents kiss their dear ones and bid goodbye.

We all were tensed for being late but as soon as we saw few teachers with their loving smile and lending their warm & sweet welcome, half of our tensions scooted away.

I was the only 8th grader in the bus. All other kids were escorted by the teachers to their respective classes leaving behind me alone in the center of a five storied gigantic building. I some how found the staircase and started crawling up. Since the school just started, 8th was the senior most grade, and the school promised that in the coming years they would increment the grades accordingly, so technically I was one of the senior most students in the school. I managed to find out that my classroom was on the first floor. I reached the floor and saw a teacher staring down at the courtyard & watching the younger kids going to their classes accompanied by their respective class teachers. I walked up to her and I noticed the name ‘Jayalekshmi’ printed on her name badge. As I walked closer to her, she turned towards me and smiled, and it was my turn to talk but that’s when I had this strange feeling, words were not coming to my mind. I wanted to ask her where I could find my class, but the words were not simply flowing in to my mind. I struggled for a while and finally asked her “Teacher, my class is where? 8th standard?” I some how managed to frame the sentence. All my pride and exuberance scrunched. With a sweet smile on her face, she pointed out to a class room on the farthest corner of a long corridor.  I started walking towards the class room. On my right side was blue painted railings and on my left were other classrooms. As I walked down, I saw other teachers and students from their class rooms starting at me as if I was some alien, in-fact I actually was, a 100 kilo giant rolling down the corridor.

KNOCK !!! KNOCK !!!

I knocked on the door, and slightly pushed it open. The teacher inside the class asked me to come in. I just had a look at the entire class and every one was staring at me. The teacher asked me “Do you belong to this class? What is your name?” I was frozen for a moment and mumbled “Yes, Rohith VSN.” She smiled and said ” I am Elsie, your class teacher” and asked me how I came and I just said “Bus.” She then pointed out to an empty desk and asked me to sit.  As I walked towards my seat, embarrassed, I realized the trouble I just got into.

I cared for my teachers and friends a lot. I didn’t have them surfeited with my poor English, an atrocity that could have caused substantial damage to their sensory organs, hence I stayed dumb and cared not to speak much. However there were times that I had to speak. Abomination, they realized it was and few of my teachers tried to help me out by giving me few tips and tricks to improve my language. Out of all, three methods were chosen to be the most doable ones and they are:

TIP #1: Listen to BBC News daily.

My mother being a teacher herself, wanted me to excel in everything and she quickly acted upon the advice given by my teachers. She asked me to watch the news daily. It was in-fact a great experience, listening to the ‘real’ English and trying to grasp something out of it. However, as days passed by, I realized that it is of no use to me. The lady speaks something and I just gawk at the television screen without understanding a word she speaks. For me, it was just a waste of my precious time, time I would rather spend with my computer instead.

TIP #2: Speak in front of a mirror.

This sounds fun but in reality it turned out to be a disaster. How long could someone stare at himself in a mirror and speak? I used to comb my hair and walk off. Clearly this tip never worked and I was still the same.

Days passed by and failing to see any change in me, my teachers gave me the last tip, and claimed to be the most effective one out of all.

TIP #3: Read a page or two from an English book before going to sleep.

Scientifically this is one strong method. The stage before falling asleep actually allows your brain to capture and store lots of data. But however, I discovered something else. No other sleeping pills are as powerful as reading a book! The moment you finish the second or third line, the next you remember is your alarm ringing the next day. Its that powerful. So clearly this third method also failed in my case and teachers lost all hopes and I was again on my own.

The incessant teasing and humiliation I faced from others made me make a tough decision. No matter what happens, I need to learn to speak English. But how? It remained a question that always badgered me.  I asked myself how I learned my mother tongue, Malayalam. The simple answer was, I don’t know. But after giving it a considerable amount of thought, I figured out that listening is the first process I went through. I fervently observed my cousin who was toddler and the way he started speaking. He would first try to produce some sound similar to our speech and his mother would correct him and he would imitate his mother. ‘Imitation’ gathered my attention. I realized, before knowing the meaning, how did we start our speech, and that is through imitation. I understood, we learn our mother tongue by constant observation, listening, and imitation.

We all are born mimicry artists. If you can speak your mother tongue, then definitely you are a mimicry artist. Few choose that as a career, and for the rest, its a lost art.  I decided to become a baby once again. I started listening to sounds, different sounds that makes up a word, and would try to imitate those sounds. I started creating stories based on sounds and the basic concept of English language and that allowed me to have it stored in my mind forever. I continued doing this and experimented various techniques.

Four months have already passed and one day, a teacher asks me a question and I realized words were flowing into my mind almost instantly and I just had to speak that out. I didn’t have to go through the mother tongue – to – English mental translation process any more. Words were simply flowing in. I told myself, I was born intelligent but education ruined me!

When ever I mentioned about my technique to others they would immediately curb my speech and would ask me how someone could learn a language without learning grammar. My only answer to them is a question, “Do you first analyze the tenses, adjectives and verbs you are about to use before speaking out in your mother tongue?” and their answer is always no. We don’t. We just simply speak without even realizing whether we are speaking in past tense, or present or in future. If we can learn to speak our native language that way, why not English or be it any other language?

As you all know, I am an entrepreneur. But I didn’t know until 2013 that I had traits of a teacher, maybe inherited from my mother. I wanted to try out this method on others and wanted to find out whether this has any potential to make a difference. I got an opportunity to teach a young kid who had difficulty speaking and learning English. I was able to give him a new life in just two months.

DSC_0110_ED_!_s

After spending considerable amount of time, researching and experimenting the method, finally I was able to create a solid module kind of document for this method which became the fundamental framework of Inzpira [https:/www.inzpira.in], my latest entrepreneurial venture where we intent to spread our method to as many people as possible. Sruthy, my co-founder and a great friend of mine has also helped me collect data to improvise this method to make it more efficient.

When I turn back and look at my past, I see, myself staring outside the glass window from a classroom with tears drooling down my cheeks. Humiliation was part of my life then and like a phoenix bird I rise again as a reply to all those fingers pointed at me. I am Rohith Namboothiri, a certified, professional language and soft-skills trainer.

An article about us & Inzpira that came in Malayala Manorama[Newspaper]

An article about us & Inzpira that came in Malayala Manorama[Newspaper]

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