Gopal Agarwal has found a way to use commuting time for a long-time wish. Ever since he came from Delhi to Bengaluru nine years ago, he wanted to learn Kannada but had never got an opportunity. Now, for the past month, he has been learning the language through a WhatsApp group called ‘Kannada Gottilla’. For half an hour, as he commutes to work, from Bellandur to ITPL, he listens to the audio lessons that are posted.

Mr. Agarwal is part of a group of people in the city who want to learn the language here as it helps them get a better rapport with people they interact with every day. The group admin calls the learners, corrects their pronunciation through audio files and assesses them. Members also meet up every month.

Anup Maiya, a Pune-based techie who started the month-old group, said the website mentions Rs. 100 as monthly fees to keep away frivolous callers but it is free for those who are genuinely interested. Ninety-five of its learners are in Bengaluru, two are in Punjab and three in Hyderabad.

But in a city where so many speak the language, why would learners look for an SMS group? Users said they find it easier as they can learn on the go. Unlike on websites, they can continue with lessons while on the move. A second reason is they like belonging to a group, learning from one another and interacting with a teacher.

Ramesh Gururajrao, who speaks Kannada fluently, said it was an innovative way of using leveraging technology.

– Article by ‘The Hindu’