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Updated: June 21, 2012 18:36 IST

Life begins at 55

Liza George
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M. Yunnus Kunju Photo: Liza George
The Hindu
M. Yunnus Kunju Photo: Liza George

M. Yunnus Kunju, a retired government official, is busy as a writer

Life began at 55 for M. Yunnus Kunju, post-retirement. While most people would view their retirement as a time for them to sit back, put up their feet and be content with the fruits of their labour, Yunnus chose to greet his retirement as a time to do the things he wanted to do in life but could not due to work and its commitments.

Feathers in his cap

A former additional director of Kerala Tourism Department, 72-year-old Yunnus has added quite a few feathers in his cap since he retired. He has gone on to take a diploma in journalism, a law degree and a diploma in cyber law to name a few. He now intends to pursue an MBA and a doctorate. “I am a still a student. There are so many things in the world to learn and know about. I want to learn them. I also want to share what I have learnt to others.”

And share them he does. A wanderlust at heart, Yunnus has travelled the world. “I have visited 25 countries,” he says. It was his experience while on Haj that led him to pen his first book – Hajinde Ormakalilude in 2003. “The fact that I could put my thoughts onto paper coherently, that I found a publisher, and that I had readers, encouraged me.”

Soon, the sights, sounds and smells in places like Thailand, the United States and Sri Lanka were turned into travelogues. While some pictures featured in these books were clicked by Yunnus himself, others were sourced from the Internet and friends who accompanied him on the trip.

But it is not just his journeys he writes about. He pens books on things related to law: a book on the Right to Information Act is one, and a book on cyber law, another. A gourmet and a diploma holder in catering technology, Yunnus has put his knowledge of food by correcting erroneous recipes that have appeared in various news publications. “Although small, they can break a dish,” says Yunnus, who although not too fond of pottering about in the kitchen, gives advice to his family on how to improve dishes. Fond of elephants, he has written against the kind of treatment dealt to the tuskers.

The writer who has been writing in Malayalam so far plans to write in English too. “I recently visited Maldives and decided to turn my experience there into a book. However, since one of my friends who resides in Maldives cannot read Malayalam, I decided to write it in English too.”

When he is not busy writing, Yunnus enjoys working in his garden and reading. “It is nothing big. It is a modest garden with a couple of fruit trees, vegetable plants and flowering pots. I love to read on anything and everything under the sun. Only if you can read, can you write”: a point to ponder.

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