March 2024 | Eyes on Jesus

No network, theology student builds tree house

No network, theology student builds tree house

After missing out on several online classes because of poor network connectivity, a third-year Bachelor of Divinity (BD) student in Pothupara, a remote village in Idukki, is climbing trees to find a glitch-free internet signal.

It was last year that Syam Pradeep, who studies theology at the India Bible College, Kumbanad, first climbed a tree near his house in a spur of the moment to try and find a signal. He was hoping his phone network would sputter to life atop the tree, and he would finally be able to attend his classes without interruptions. The government had just announced a state wide lockdown in the wake of the Covid-19 spread, following which his college decided to take online classes via Google Meet. After he realised that the tree was his only trusted way to ensure connectivity, he decided to built a tree house on its branches and set up a study space there.

Ever since, Syam has been climbing the tree every morning to settle down on the tree house with his laptop. There, he accesses live lecture sessions that span up to three hours.

Let alone the internet, even cellular signal is a luxury in many remote localities of Idukki, says Syam. Many students like him have to move to their relatives houses, set up temporary sheds in tea plantations, or go to bizarre lengths in their quest for internet connectivity and network coverage. Only BSNL network is available here, he says.

Syam’s college conducts two classes a day - one in the morning from 8.30 am to 10.30am and the second from 12 noon to 1pm. “Attending the afternoon sessions are difficult due to the scorching heat. Besides, if it is raining. I can’t climb the tree. However, I find one way or the other to always attend classes without fail,” he said.