Dr. Lalitha Mathew

Dr. Lalitha Mathew  needs no introduction. All of us here at ‘Prayaana’ know her as our Chief Mentor and as a sprightly lady who, knowingly or unknowingly, motivates whoever comes within her orbit. When we were looking for an apt personality for the Leading Lady of the Month column of our magazine, the first name that flashed in our inner minds simultaneously was that of our Dr. Lalitha Mathew.


What makes her stand out is her attitude towards life, and her vibrant personality that makes her take up all the challenges that life presents, with her decisive chin held up & never sweeping the floor. Apart from  a Ph.D in English which she acquired after a bachelor’s degree in Education, postgraduation & a Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) all in English Language & Literature, she has to her credit, ever so many certificates given to her by national & international bodies for the special proficiencies she has mastered, esp.in the realms of Phonetics, Linguistics, the Spoken Word, Art & Art reviews, Theatre Arts from The School of Drama & other Performing Arts like Bharat naatyam, Carnatic Vocal & Veena of course her most popularly known talent-writing.


Lalitha ma’am is also a professor at CUSAT from The Centre for English and Foreign Language Studies. ‘AKSHARI’-The House of Knowledge is an English/Soft Skills/Personality enhancement Centre housed at her sprawling villa in Muttom near Aluva, Kerala.


Me (Sujatha) :  Madam can you give us a small overview of  your younger years and college days ?

Dr.Lalitha:  Basically I am from Trivandrum; my family lineage is to be traced   back to a small village called ‘Thaandavan Thottam” in Tanjavur, Tamil Nadu from where during Tippu Sultan’s invasion, my great grandfather with his joint family brood left his agrahaaram & was fleeing in desperation to some land where his Shiva & pooja   accessories would be safe. So embedded was he in the  Saivite ethos. He found that Moncombu, in our beautiful Kuttanaad was congenial to his agricultural inclinations. The family spread far & wide to different parts of Central & Southern Tranancore. My father having settled as a lawyer & businessman in  the capital city, gave us our education there. After schooling in Holy Angels’ Convent, I studied  BSc Mathematics in H.H. The Maharajah’s College for Women. But, God had proposed something unexpected & before becoming a Maths graduate, I chose my Life Partner at the tender age of 18 & found myself to be Mrs. Mathew!

Me: You say that you studied Maths but how come you are  an exponent of English now?

Lalitha ma’am: That is a good question. After ten years of vegetating as the wife of a Civil Engineer in FACT Ltd; Kochi & being a wonderful homemaker for my husband & two lovely children, I found the hands of Providence beckoning me to enter the wide portals of Learning. With two children and a family to look after, it was not a simple job. But here again, I finished my B.A in English Language & Literature, bagging the I rank from  Kerala University. From then on, there was no looking back.

Me: What  were the other achievements in your academic level?

Dr.Lalitha: I completed  my B.Ed, MA &MPhil & got my doctoral degree from the Calicut University. All these were done with a lot of  compromises at the home front.

Me : What were  the main challenges that you had to address?  As you both were from different backgrounds, how did you manage a successful marriage?

Dr.Lalitha : Love, love & nothing but love was the only medicine that I had for this. My husband, like many others of his kind with a legacy to fall back upon, was rather keen on alcohol. Quoting Sri.John Abraham’s movie ‘Agrahaarathilae kazhutha’, he used to tease  me for not being a modern woman –of—the-world regarding parties , drinks & the stuff, though he must  have been secretly proud of my simplicity. But the factor ‘love’ made us stay together and sail across.

Me: I have been told about the great tragedy in your life. Would it be too painful to talk about it?

Dr. Lalitha : Painful? No. Nostalgia even if it were a loss?  Yes. My son Ananth, a fantastic human being, loving & lovable, left us in a jiffy when he was 27, well employed & getting ready for marriage. But I do not miss him much because I do not think that he is really gone. He is in my conscious, unconscious & subconscious selves perennially & we have our intra communication. I don’t dissect or analyse the veracity of my thoughts & may be assumptions or illusions. When assailed with fear, anxiety & insecurity, I reach out to him in my thoughts & he in his habitual suave self, helps me to take the right decision.

Me: Still I can find that you have never given up the YOU in you ?  While I speak to you I can feel the spirit of Life in you. How do you maintain this?  

Dr.Lalitha(laughs) : It maintains itself! I am very selfish about my grief in the sense that I share it  uninhibitedly, only with my God. But I am extremely selfless about my joy, which I share with not only relatives & friends, but even with acquaintances. ‘AKSHARI’ my brainchild, keeps me always motivated and in high spirits. I train people from age 15 to age 55 now. ‘ AKSHARI’ & its full form  are self explanatory. It is a house of Knowledge where people of all ages & status come to me to learn whatever Life Skill they are lacking. I provide not only English language skills but soft skills , etiquette, grooming & the way to create a sense of well being; that finesse & refinement which individually or in totality makes my pupil not only smarter & more articulate & confident, but also  to turn life or living style into an art, within one’s budget , within the confining strictness of home & workplace environments,& fighting & winning over the fear monster in him. I have a fisher woman’s son, an auto rickshaw man’s daughter, a butcher’s wife & so on as my clientele. Millionaire businessmen too come to make themselves  fluent English speakers. A small time shopkeeper, a dyslexic adolescent, a tortured daughter-in – law coming just to air her grievance, are all a strong presence in my institution. This sense of power to educate, power to comfort, give to & get from an interesting cross section of the society of which I am a part, a lot of love & compassion, is therapeutic to put it mildly.

Me: But what is the ultimate aim of this holistic education?

Dr.Lalitha : If people say about someone ‘’he lived till 30, but was buried at 80’’, it means that he had a full & productive life till 30 ; it was all over & he continued a dreary & dull life, of no use to  himself or to  his community, till his clinical death & subsequent burial at 80. So, one should not just ‘exist’ only because he was born, but should  live , really LIVE, every moment of his life, whatever his life span may be. Another element within me that keeps me up always is the motto of selfless service. I am more into philanthropic activities and I firmly believe what we give to world is what we get back& ultimately, good or bad, one gets only what one deserve. 

Me: What about your daughter and son- in- law?

Dr.Lalitha: My daughter Dr. Anjana Pradeep is a Homeopath. She is deeply spiritual and more philanthropic than I am & has a code of ethics very different from that of a professional & commercial medico. My son –in- law is the founder of FINMARK (financial market education). By Gods Grace, they are doing well & so are their daughters, Praarthana & Pratheeksha, who fight over only one thing-Priority for my affection & attention!

Me: What is your take on a woman?

Dr.Lalitha: A woman is already empowered, because she is The Power. I have said so in most of my interviews in the visual media. Age cannot wither her, nor Custom stale her infinite variety.

After the interview I felt how strong this woman is and nothing stands in her way, when it comes to achievement.



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