My Mom is learning a new language She's 60

Story by Niharika Mathur

My mother, at the age of 60, ventured back into the world of education. She has always had a thirst for learning and has been a keen reader. However, between running a clinic and post marriage responsibilities, she didn’t get the time to study further.

Last year, someone we knew mentioned that they had joined online German classes. This piqued my mother’s interest. And for the first time in a long time, she had more time on her hands as she was working from home.

Hence, she set on a journey to learn German: a language which was completely foreign to her. She reminded us of a little kid who was excited on their first day of school. Like most people her age, my mother wasn’t very familiar with technology so we helped her.

Initially, we used to sit with her while she attended classes but she learned her way around a computer pretty quickly.

She enjoyed her German classes quite a lot. It was a classroom beyond any age or ethnicity. There were kids, adolescents, and people in their 20s/30s.

My mother took in this new language in a stride. Not only did she enjoy doing her assignments but she also actively participated in the class. One day, the class celebrated Halloween virtually and everyone dressed up. My mother dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother!

My mom just didn’t learn a new language, she also learned about the German culture. She told us how people in Germany are extremely fond of animals and almost everyone there kept a pet. She revealed that the people there are very family oriented and love their traditions.

Her classes were limited to weekends and were sometimes held on weekdays. Everyone in the family supported her in any way they could. My brother and I helped her with the cooking while my father did most of the cleaning.

Almost five months have gone by since she started learning German and let me put it this way; she isn’t our Mamma anymore, she is now our ‘Mutter’!

My mother always tells us that learning isn’t time limited. It does not have a deadline. Whether it’s a hobby or a language, you can pick up something new whenever you want to if you want to.

However society doesn’t agree with this thought process. The day a girl is born in our country, her life is stamped with milestones; before adolescence-after adolescence or before marriage- after marriage.

We are constantly reminded of the ticking clock and are expected to squeeze in our accomplishments before marriage or before having kids, or else to forget about them. We are always warned about how our dreams could affect our image or our family’s image.

These boundaries, especially for women and more so for elderly women are nothing but chains to hold us back. There isn’t a right time or a day or a year to learn or to dream; the only time is every time, the only day is every day and the only year is every year!

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