KOZHIKODE: For 28 long years, K Shaji has taught English and Physics to umpteen students of parallel college sector in and around Koduvally. Now, he is imparting an invaluable lesson necessitated by circumstances with no big noise or crowd-pulling blitzkrieg.The pandemic had hit hard this 45-year-old teacher with no income to sustain his family for five months. Unfazed, Shaji looked around and came up with a survival alternative — he converted the porch of his house into a store and has been managing through for the past three months.
“I am the principal and owner of Gurukulam parallel college in Koduvally. When the educational institutions downed their shutters in March, I first thought it would be for a brief period. But sitting idle for five months gave me the insight that this was going to be a prolonged ordeal. I explored other ways and decided to start retail selling of maxi dresses, which are procured at wholesale rate,” told Shaji. Thus, the porch of his house at Manipuram became a home store from August 12. “My friends and local residents were the first buyers as they wanted to support me. Later, I added a few other items such as soap, sanitiser and detergent. Now, I am able to manage somehow,” Shaji said.
He brought the desks and benches of the parallel college and converted them into shelves in his store. The parallel college teacher is relieved of the trauma he had undergone during the five months — sitting idle at home not knowing how to pay the rent for the college building.
“There are a number of persons like me whose livelihood was snatched away by the pandemic overnight. But I want to tell the entire world that hope exists in any adverse situation and we should strive to find it out,” said Shaji, who is popularly known as Gurukulam Shaji.
Shaji, secretary of Manipuram Vayanashala (library), is a former district vice-president of the Parallel College Association as well. Covid could not take away his passion for teaching.“I conduct online classes through Google Plus now though the number of students is less.”Shaji has become a symbol of inspiration. Quite a good number of parents approached him to lead their wards to the world of letters on Vidyarambham day once his story spread by word of mouth. Recently, the Kerala Parallel College Association felicitated him for scripting the motivating story during the dark times.