On this Teacher’s day, let me introduce about one of Mathematics Teacher Abdul Malik Sir , we can call him as “swimming Maths master“.
Abdul Malik is 42-year-old mathematics teacher at the Muslim Lower Primary School at Padinjattumuri in Malappuram, Kerala.
His father passed away , when he was young. He was helped by his own uncle, who was an Imam. My uncle advised me to train as a teacher after my 10th standard. He felt it would improve my chances of getting a job.
In 1993, Malik secured a job as a teacher at a salary of Rs 1,350 per month.Then, he was faced with a new problem. To reach the school that is surrounded on three sides by the Kadalundi river, he had to travel almost three hours by bus to cover a distance of just 12 kilometres.
The school started at 10.30 am, but Malik had to begin his day with a kilometre-long walk to the bus stop at 8 am. To reach the school, he needed to change buses. Both buses, he says, are always crowded.
After the school closed at 4.30 pm, Malik had to repeat the same tiresome journey to reach home.
This ordeal continued for a year. “By the time I reached home, I was exhausted. This route had very few buses. If you miss one, you have to wait 30, 45 minutes for the next one.”
One evening, as he was walking towards the bus stop, he was stopped by a teacher who taught Arabic at the same school.
“Why do you waste so much time travelling by bus? I have a farm on the other side of the river next to your house. Whenever I come to collect things from my farm, I swim across.”
The distance between the river’s banks, says Malik, is only one kilometre.
The Arabic teacher was carrying a huge bunch of bananas as he swam. He used a tube around his torso which let him float so that he needed to use only one hand to swim; with the other, he kept the bananas above water.
One evening, Malik decided to return home with the Arabic teacher by swimming across the river. Like the Arabic teacher, he too used a tube.
It was the perfect solution. Since then, Malik has been swimming to school.
At the river bank, he changes into a towel that he carries in a plastic bag. He then gets into the water with the tube around his chest.
His lunch box, sandals, plastic bag and an umbrella are all clutched in one hand that he keeps raised above the water.
“Initially, I was a bit hesitant as the river is generally very rough. Swimming across is a bit tough as you are going against the tide. During the monsoon, there are snakes in the river. But it takes just 15, 20 minutes to reach the other bank. I am home in half an hour after school closes.”
On the other bank, he has identified a rock behind which he dresses to go to school. He keeps the tube tied to a small rock.
In the evening, the same process is repeated. On this side of the river, he keeps the tube at a house nearby and walks back home.
Since he has started swimming to work, he leaves home at 9.30 am and reaches the other side of the river at 10 am. He is so punctual that people look at the clock and say, ‘Master has reached the bank. That means it is 10 am now.’
Students began to call him ‘Tube Master!’
“In the beginning, many people, including my students, would stand on the bank and watch me swim. They were more excited than I was,” he laughs. “People would stop me on the way and ask, ‘Master, is it time to change the tube? Please buy it from my shop.'”
Slowly, the curiosity waned. Today, it does not seem unusual that the Maths teacher swims across the river to come to school.
Malik has always been interested in Maths.
Abdul is a staunch environmentalist too, and gets saddened by how the river has become dirty over the past years. He often takes his students swimming, who love their unique teacher. Together they remove plastic, garbage, and other filth floating on the river’s surface. “But we should avoid polluting our rivers, because nature is a gift from God,” he says.
Source: Rediff website and The Hindu- Feb 25 2016