Meet Abdul Malik, a 42-year-old mathematics teacher at the Muslim Lower Primary School at Padinjattumuri in Malappuram, Kerala. To avoid the 24-km long journey by road, he has been swimming from his home to the school and back, for over 20 years now. He has never missed a class.
Swimming helps him avoid the long road journey, which would involve changing three buses and take a lot of his time. In an interview with the New Indian Express, he said, “I had travelled by road during the first year. But it was on the advice of my colleague that I started to swim across the river. The school is surrounded by water on three sides, so it is better to swim rather than depend on any other kind of transportation.” He carries his clothes and books in a plastic bag. Once he crosses the river, he changes into fresh clothes and makes his way to the school.
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.
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