The hilarious story of Mr. Kittusingam

I hail from a small village in a coastal District of Tamilnadu. I had my education in Tamil and English, and knew no other language. My attempt to learn Hindi was not very successful. I could only manage a few simple words in Hindi.
On being selected for the Central Civil Service, I was sent to a small village in Karnataka for a survey. A peon accompanying me also knew no language other than Tamil. Coming from a Coastal village, rice and fish is my diet. I could not expect fish in the village. I thought chicken and rice was an option. I expressed my desire to have chicken for dinner. The locals did not know what a chicken meant, and, my peon and I did not know the Kannada word for chicken.
Therefore, my peon went in search of a fowl (cock or hen) around the village. In a corner, he saw a hen and tried to catch it. But, the hen got frightened and ran all over the village, with my peon chasing it.
Finally, by making gestures with my hands and mouth, I could explain to the villagers that we wanted the bird for our food. This caused hilarious laughter. Promptly, a fowl was slaughtered and cooked for us. I learnt that a fowl is called “KOLI” in Kannada.
My people and I still remember this hilarious episode in the initial stages of my career.


Akki and Anna – The story of Mr Pontu

The Story of Mr. Pontu

I was born and brought up in a small village in a North Eastern state of India, and had my schooling in the village school, and did my graduation in a College at the Sub-Division headquarters. On being selected for a Central Civil Services, I was sent to a small interior village in one of the backward Districts of South Karnataka for study of rural life.

The inhabitants there did not know any language other than Kannada and I knew no language other than English, local dialect in the North east and a smattering of Hindi.

On my first day there, I learnt the first word in Kannada – “Akki” (uncooked rice). When it was time for lunch, I told the local person accompanying me, to get me “Akki” for lunch. He could not catch me fully, and brought uncooked rice in a plastic cover. I did not know whether I was expected to eat uncooked rice! Only when I demonstrated to him that I wanted “Akki” for food, he told me that cooked rice is called “Anna”. Then, he brought cooked rice and sambhar for lunch. I had a hearty meal.

In this way, I picked up small sentences in kannada, which made my short stay in the village fairly comfortable. By the time I had left the village, I could manage short conversations in Kannada. The villagers were also happy that I had a small beginning in becoming one of them instead being dubbed an ‘outsider’.

Note: Mr Pontu’s name is changed for the story.

On the right course

by Anushree Agarwal, Deccan Herald, Metro Life, September 19, 2016

Language matters

 If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.’

This saying by Nelson Mandela sounds true but one may forget about it when they are in a different city, state or country and face issues with speaking the local language.

This is what spurred Rekha Chandulal to start ‘Courseloka’, a startup in the city that offers spoken Kannada courses on a mobile app as well as desktop, in April this year.
A Bengalurean hailing from Delhi, Rekha learnt Kannada growing up in the city.

“With an influx of people into the Silicon Valley, I observed people facing the language barrier, just about managing and becoming disconnected locally. Having worked in another city, I had also faced various issues like these. So I decided to help integrate people locally by teaching them Kannada,” says Rekha, an alumnus of IIT Delhi and IIM Ahmedabad.

‘Courseloka’ has Kannada courses where they have speaking lessons without the script, with audio lessons to replay to get pronunciation right. The lessons have simple sentences and conversations for day-to-day talks. The lessons can be downloaded on the mobile app to refer and learn on-the-spot in real life situations and even while one is on the move.

“The topics much sought-after are making enquiries to seek help, giving courier or cab directions, shopping, socialising, household matters, food, accommodation, health and emergencies. This sort of learning can help one save valuable time and effort through more efficient interactions,” says Rekha.

So how has the response been so far? “Those from outside the city are responding positively to learning spoken Kannada easily on the mobile app. They have found learning the script difficult and miss classes due to traffic, night shifts and busy schedules. Learning anytime, anywhere, at their own pace through the app has caught the fancy of the IT crowd. Audio lessons, images and interesting quizzes keep learners engaged,” details Rekha.
Click to Read the article…

How I created the name ‘courseloka’

Courseloka is my new venture in the online education (elearning) space. It went live in Jan 2016 with ‘Spoken Kannada’ courses on ‘courseloka’ mobile app and desktop.

Time taken to create name: 1 hour

My requirements of the name were:

  • Domain must be available
  • Name must relate to education
  • A Sanskrit name combined with English
  • Name must be unique and not long

Challenge: Most properly spelt domains are already booked.

Reality: Most online domain names are arbitrary with intentional mis-spelling, abstract to the point of “the name does not mean anything, it’s just a brand name”.

Strategy: Take a word and introduce a spelling mistake.

Then I thought, my school’s English teacher would have cringed, “We taught her English so well, and, she was a good student. How could she create a brand name with a spelling mistake?”.

Revised strategy: To combine 2 words to create a unique name.

Idea: a (Sanskrit/ Hindi + English) name in the education space.

I had come up with 40 names of word combinations a few months back. However, I continued the search for a name.

Words considered: Place of study like academy, university, college, classroom, paathshaala, school, ashram.

However, online courses are not delivered in ‘physical places of study’.

On google search for Sanskrit names, I found ‘Loka’: ‘World’ in Sanskrit and ‘Universe’ in Jain texts.

Loka alludes to place, world, a spiritual plane, realm, abode, dimension, or plane of existence. Example: triloka, swargloka. Read  and

‘Loka’ clicked instantly in my mind as an ideal name, because online courses reside in the global internet, not in a physical place and are delivered worldwide.

Then, I wanted an english name with ‘loka’. I quickly thought “what do we do?” – we offer courses. Instantly, the name courseloka was created.
I asked a few friends, they liked the name too.

I checked the domain availability, and it was available. I immediately booked courseloka domains and digital properties.

Viola, ‘courseloka’ it is.

Signup & see Demo:

Buy on

First course: Kannada Spoken

Continue reading “How I created the name ‘courseloka’”

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