Years ago, in the lesser known outskirts of Pune, a young boy who excelled in football, hockey and several other games topped his 10th Grade Board exams. The following year he tutored his younger brother who subsequently topped his Tenth Grade exams. The following year his younger brother’s friends were taught by him and all of them topped their school. When the boy’s youngest sibling was tutored by him, yet again history repeated itself!
This young boy who was born in Kerala and later brought up in Pune, Maharashtra, used to help his parents run their bakery in Vishrantwadi after school hours. Going around on his cycle selling bread, butter, jam and Keralite bakery items, with a smile on his face, the boy who exhibited exceptional brilliance in academics is now fondly known among his students, friends and well wishers, as Anees Bhaiya.
Back in 1988, the young Anees who was immensely popular in his school and neighbourhood for his wizardry in mathematics, set up a full-fledged coaching centre named Anees Classes to help mould young students for admission to India’s National Defence Academy (NDA) in Pune.
“I didn’t have much money to buy refreshers and guides,” a smiling Anees recalls his school days.
“After school hours, my friends would come to me seeking help in solving problems. They would also share their refreshers and guides with me. That’s how my first teaching experience began and I realised that I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
He recalls his years from class 1 to 10 to be a bumpy journey with a lot of fond memories. Often he had been made to stand outside his classroom as he couldn’t pay the fees on time. It was at such times that the kindness and affection showed by his teachers got him through.
Miss Govandu, Mr. Thacker, Miss Patwardhan are the few teachers who helped him. “I was always the teachers’ pet,” he reminisces. “I switched schools for my class 11 and 12, and that required a long distance travel from home to school. It was at that time that I took up teaching further and started charging Rs. 50 for my evening classes. My father initially told me that I was doing a foolish thing as I would earn more if I just continued selling the bakery items but my mother supported me and I continued teaching and embarked on home tuitions as well.”
“After my class 12, I was in a dilemma as to what to do further. I wanted to go for medicine but didn’t have the means to pursue it. I didn’t want to become an engineer and due to family’s frugal financial condition, I ended up pursuing a course leading to a Diploma in Electronics and Communication Engineering which I never enjoyed. My passion was for teaching and by now I had around 40-50 students in a batch. I taught a multitude of subjects including Marathi and various syllabi simultaneously.”
Anees, who himself experienced the pain of not receiving career advice from anyone in his time, freely offers career counselling to all his students. While speaking to him one can’t help but notice the warmth and friendly nature he shares with everyone, be it his staff, students or a visitor. He is nothing less than an Academic Superman.
He tells us his story amidst some counselling for some kids.
“Later on, I bought the premises that had been the family’s rented abode and dedicated a separate area for my classes. If on one side of the class I was solving sums for students in one syllabus, two minutes later I would be solving sums to another batch doing a different syllabus.”
One by one his own students became teachers at Anees Classes. The one criterion he stipulated was that all the teachers were to be trained in his classes. This ensured that all the teachers were well acquainted with the style and methodologies followed there.
Today, Anees Classes is spread over 11 locations in Pune and have students coming from all over India. With hostel facilities and food provided for the students, Anees Sir ensures that the students get the best of everything. For this, he has expanded the courses offered starting from stress management classes, coaching classes from class 1 to 12, foreign language classes, soft skills and personality development to various workshops, summer camps, and so on.
But how did he start preparing students for the NDA?
“Back in 1993, three students from Sainik School, Satara (a system of schools to prepare students for entry into the National Defence Academy and Indian Naval Academy) had come to me. All the three got into the NDA. The following year, seven came and later on 10 and then 16. Later I got to know these were Sainik school students. It was then that I started providing them with food and accommodation at my own place”.
Over the years, Anees Classes have prepared over 1000 successful students for the NDA and over 400 are officers in the Army, Navy and Air Force.
He also has his own unconventional techniques for teaching mathematics and has even given them unique names. Jugal Bandi, Chandal Chowkadi, Amar Akbar Antony, Mara Mari are a few of them.
A true philanthropist in every sense of the word, Anees Sir believes in helping every student. He isn’t a materialistic person and gives students the option of a refund in case they don’t like his classes. In the year 1997, he started a family Trust called the Evergreen Foundation along with his father, mother and wife as trustees. Initially this Trust began funding financially weaker students. Besides Evergreen Foundation, Anees Kutty has also co-founded MStartups.biz and the Indian Muslim Entrepreneurs Forum. He wants to create a global platform for young professionals and help nurture businessmen of tomorrow. The Evergreen Foundation conducts several events and workshops to promote professionals to pursue their dreams and careers.
Asked about what makes him the happiest, he says,
“The most satisfying part is that all my students are doing better than I do. I have realised that somewhere down the lane my students have picked up the values I hold. They believe in honesty and are genuine. Most of them call and wish me on my birthday and send me Rakhis on Raksha Bandhan. I am always remembered as their Anees Bhaiya.”
So what is the secret behind this good heart?
“I live by three mottos – Accept, Adjust and Appreciate.”
Well, one thing is for sure. Call him Anees Kutty, Anees Sir or Anees Bhaiya, this man with a heart of gold is a true example of
“Teachers don’t teach for the income, teachers teach for the outcome!”
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