Meena Raghavan is the oldest martial art player. She practices Kalaripayattu a martial art form which originated in Kerala during the 13th century.
At the age of 74 most Indian women are confined to their homes as old-age and general weakness sets in but that’s not the case with Meena Raghavan. Having practiced Kalari from age 7, she shows no sign of stopping anytime soon.
Kalaripayattu, one of the most dangerous forms of martial arts, is a very popular sport in Kerala. With heavy swords, shields and sticks as weapons it is a full contact fighting technique that has engaged people from all ages and walks of life. The academy that is run by Meena Raghavan has been instrumental in not letting the style slip into oblivion.
Being the oldest fighter of this art, she leads a hall full of students with vigour and intent. Her institute entertains students not only from her state but also from abroad, Africa and Spain in particular. She believes that this fighting form transcends physical prowess as it is greatly influential in strengthening one’s mental resolve.
Girls, who were earlier discourage to attend Kalari classes can now be seen learning the art with other other women. As her students call her “Grandmother” out of affection, she charges no fee for training her disciples as they give the centre a donation when they complete their training.
Meena’s proactive work in teaching and practicing Kalari goes on to show that age is just a number.