In 2014, when Kerala’s Rasheed Ruksha saw some students exercising on the Perumbavoor Asram Ground, he observed that they were at risk of hurting themselves as they were doing the exercises wrong.

After correcting them, he offered to train them for free.

“I believe that it would help them get a decent job in state or central government. I personally feel that more than money, a student’s prayer would help me,” he says.

But the 57-year-old physical trainer initially started out as a photographer. Now he has combined both his passions.

It was at the age of 21 that he learned how to use a camera and in 1987, he opened a studio in Ernakulam’s Perumbavoor.

The same year, he also joined a gym and learned all the exercises there. In the absence of the trainer, Rasheed started training the new students at the gym.

Impressed by his passion for fitness, the gym owner offered him a job. “It feels good when we can do what we love for a living,” he exclaims.

“On all days except Sundays, from 6 to 9 am, I train my students at the Perumbavoor Asram Ground. And after training, I’m at the studio experimenting with photography to earn my living,” he says.

In the initial six years since 2014, he trained over 300 students – most of whom cleared their physical tests for government job postings. Of these, around 90 students joined government service as well.

“Most of my students are aspiring for jobs with the airport authority, police, customs, and other government departments,” he adds.