English teacher picks up mortar pan to eke out a living

“I cannot wait indefinitely for the reopening of my college. I have a family to feed,” says Babu, who teaches higher secondary students in a parallel college in Vadakara.

Published: 12th June 2020 06:25 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th June 2020 03:19 PM   |  A+A-

Paleri Meethal Babu working at a construction site near Vadakara

Paleri Meethal Babu working at a construction site near Vadakara

Express News Service

KOZHIKODE: Paleri Meethal Babu, 55, of Onchiyam in Vadakara is now learning new skills at this age. This English teacher, who has taught prose and poetry to scores of students in his 30-year-long career, has picked up the mortar-filled pan and shovel to eke out a living at construction sites, thanks to the pandemic. 

“I cannot wait indefinitely for the reopening of my college. I have a family to feed,” says Babu, who teaches higher secondary students in a parallel college in Vadakara. He took up concrete work as a helper in mid-May, fetching Rs 750 a day after toiling from 7am to 3pm. “But the construction sector too is dull. I have got only seven days work so far,” he laments. 

Babu says that the same is the plight of close to 100 parallel college teachers in Vadakara, which is known as a hub of such colleges. “I have completed BA in English. While doing SSLC, I ran away to Madras (Chennai), unable to cope up with poverty. I got a supplier’s job at a hotel at Mylapore. As there were no Malayalam dailies and magazines, I tried to read English magazines and gradually mastered the language. After completing graduation, my skills in English helped me fetch a job at ‘Sagar’ parallel college in Vadakara,” he reminisced. Since then, he had worked in many parallel colleges. He had also taught degree students at Ansar College at Villiapally, a self-financing institution. 

Appreciation for Babu
Babu has a home loan to repay and meet the educational expenses of his children. “While studying for degree, I had a brief stint as a helper in road tarring work. That experience made me try my luck in the construction field,” he added. 

His 23-year-old son had completed the civil engineering course and the younger son is in Class 11. 
Babu’s willingness to do hard labour has earned him many accolades. Kapcos Cooperative Banking, a Vadakara-based credit union, and many of Babu’s students have provided him with money and essential goods. “Babu’s determination to face any challenge is a model worth emulation,” said Kapcos president I Moosa.



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  • Yash Pal

    There will be many more heart wrenching stories now
    2 years ago reply
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