Kerala’s Kasargod has a unique story to say of this teacher. Fondly addressed as Narayani teacher, this 65-year-old lady is no ordinary teacher. For the last 50 years,she has been walking barefoot to teach. Well, that’s not the only exceptional part about her. For the last fifty years, she has been going from door-to-door to teach, not just one only language alone. She is also well-versed in several languages.
A woman like her coming from such humble background is unexpected for taking up extraordinary tasks. She has been walking 25 km every day to teach children in her area. On a regular basis, her day starts at 4.30 am and she reaches the first house by 6.30 am. From here, she walks to her other students’ houses and returns home by nightfall.
Over the past 50 years, Narayani teacher has walked 25 kilometres every day to educate generations of pupils in Kerala’s Kasaragod. This is the narrative of her incredible adventure.
Narayani teacher doesn’t carry any record of teaching in any school and yet Narayani she has been teaching since the age of 15. She graduated from high school in 1971 and never went to any college and never had any kind of formal education. But the exceptional quality about her is that she does, however, speak four languages: English, Malayalam, Hindi, and Sanskrit. For the last 50 years, the sexagenarian has taught over a hundred students.
Walking, according to Narayani, is part of her daily fast. “I will continue to walk and teach as long as my health allows,” she says. During the COVID-19-induced lockdown, the teacher continued to teach.
Based in Cheruvathur, Narayani teacher, lives with her ailing husband in a rented house. For years, Narayani’s teacher has dreamed of buying a house of her own.
“Most often, my students score good marks and try to give away gifts in cash,” says the teacher, who uses the tuition fee to sustain her livelihood and take care of her bedridden husband. Narayani, a teacher, does not own any land, and her husband is bedridden and has no children. She has no other means of income other than the fees she receives from youngsters.
Her disciples include many famous people, such as doctors and MBBS students. Kavya Madhavan, a former Indian actress, who appeared predominantly in Malayalam films, also joins the list of her students. There have been times when she has even travelled to the Gulf to provide tuition for children there.
Being a staunch devotee of Lord Murugan of Palani Temple, she believes in fasting, which has also been the predominant factor as to why she hasn’t been wearing footwear. Every year she climbs the Palani hill. The hill has about 693 stairs which is located at a height of 500 feet (150 metres).Narayani says that walking is part of her daily fast. “I will continue to do both walking and teaching till my health allows,” she says.