Aluva: The differently-abled 12-year-old was determined. The deep whirlpool and the heavy flow of Periyar did not deter Aadit, despite being limited with hearing and speech challenges. He took just 32 minutes to swim 200 meters across the river from Advaitha Ashramam jetty to Manappuram. This part of Aluva river is its deepest and widest.
Aadit is a 7th class student of Mount Tabor School at Kalamassery. His only guidance in the adventurous effort was coach Saji Valasseril's gestures. Son of Maushami Balachandran of Edapalli North Vattekunnam Darshaloom, Aadit had proven skills in cycling and skating before trying swimming. Grandma Prabha and other family members stood with him solidly.
A 24-day coaching helped him with the power to stay swimming in the waters for two hours.
The coach has the distinction of having trained over 1,200 children and adults. Among them are Krishna S. Kamat, a young girl with a congenital spinal problem; visually-challenged M.S. Navaneeth; Niveditha, who is five-and-a-half years old; and revenue department staff member N. Radhakrishnan. All of them had swam across Periyar under Saji Valasseril's coaching.
Malu Sheika who crossed the widest part of Vembanad Lake was also his student.