Bengaluru: Passion makes you do wonders, doesn’t it? 

Passion is the sine qua non that makes you forget your difficulties and prods you do things which bring you laurels. 

Meet Shafi Cherumavilayi. He is in his late 50s. He works as a construction labourer. But that is surely run of the mill. What sets him apart is his love for translations. 


Today, he is an accomplished Tamil-Malayalam translator who is the most sought-after! 
Way back in 1980s, Shafi used to serve tea at a shop in Bengaluru. Whenever people who spoke Tamil visited the shop, he used to listen to them attentively as they would have spirited discussions on various issues in Tamil. 

“But my limited resources did not allow me to join a proper course. So, every night, after the day’s work, I would try reading the Tamil film posters I collected. I would also read every pamphlet, note, newspaper or book in Tamil, brought to the shop by the Tamil customers,” he says as quoted by The Better India. 

In this way, he learned Tamil and mastered it. 

Later he got this hunger to translate the rich Tamil literature into Malayalam. That is when he began translating short stories, essays into Malayalam. 

But that was surely not easy. For he used to work in the mornings as a construction labourer and in the evenings, as he used to come home, he would start his translations. Even though he would be tired, he would work with renewed vigour and gusto when he would put pen to paper. 

You may be surprised to know that Shafi has to his credit, translating nine Tamil novels into Malayalam! 

The website notes that his first work was a Russian story written in Tamil, which he translated to Malayalam before he relocated to the Gulf. This later went on to be published in Janayugom, a Malayalam daily newspaper published by the Kerala State Committee of the Communist Party of India.

Though he loves translations, it is sad to note that it doesn’t earn him fetching returns, but his love for it doesn’t diminish. He has also won many literary awards for his endeavour. 

In order to make ends meet, he goes on as a construction labourer, but never allows his passion to die!