School reopening: They travelled 350km, paid Rs 9,500 vehicle rent to reach school at 4.30am

School reopening: They travelled 350km, paid Rs 9,500 vehicle rent to reach school at 4.30 am
Class 10 students Saravanan (second from left) and Balasurya (third from left) with their parents in front of the Government Model Residential High School in Vellachal in Kasaragod district on Monday. Photo: TA Ameerudheen

Kasaragod: Class 10 students Balasurya and Saravanan couldn't hide their joy when they reached the Government Model Residential School at Vellachal in Kasaragod district at 4.30am on Monday, almost two years after they went back to their homes in Parambikkulam in Palakkad district.

"It is a pleasure to be back after two years," Balasurya said. He was accompanied by his father Murugan.

Saravanan, who was accompanied by his father Ganesh, echoed his friend. "I also have the same feeling," he said.

But the journey was not as pleasant as one would expect.

The four, who live at Sungam tribal colony at Parambikkulam near Kerala-Tamil Nadu border, undertook an arduous 350km journey on a rented vehicle to reach the school five-and-a-half hours before its reopening.

They set out at 5.30pm on Sunday from their homes. "The forest department would close the Parambikkulam check post at 6 pm. That's why we started early," Murugan, who works as a forest watcher, told Onmanorama.

And they shelled out Rs 9,500 as vehicle rent. "We first thought of travelling by train, but decided against it because of the uncertainty surrounding the services. Rs 9,500 is a huge amount, but we don't have any other options," Murugan said.

All the parents at Sungam Colony have been eagerly waiting for the school reopening because they knew the difficulties faced by their children during the online learning sessions.

The colony has a feeble internet connectivity and students have to venture into the forest to get better coverage. "Wild animals roam around the forest freely and parents never allowed their children to go there. Lack of internet connectivity has affected the studies of our children," Ganesh said.

Balasurya and Saravanan, who enrolled at the Government Model Residential High School in Vellachal in Class 6 in 2016, said they scored good marks in last year's examinations despite the troubles.

They are now aiming to score big in Class 10. "The school reopening has boosted our morale. We will work hard to achieve our dream," Balasurya said.

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