| Sunanda Chatterjee with her parents at her home in Patna City on Sunday. Picture by Sachin |
The stone on which Sunanda Chatterjee — the Class X board topper of St Joseph’s Convent High School — sat and studied for her board exams is a part of the legends of Indian literature.
The great granddaughter of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay — author of novels like Srikanta, Pather Dabi, Parineeta and the cinematic favourite Devdas — told The Telegraph: “The garden in my house has a stone on which he (Sarat Chandra) used to sit and write. I sit on the same stone while studying. It gives me a lot of confidence.”
Sunanda’s ancestral home is the famous C House at Alamganj Chowk. The green patch in front of it is called Jitendra Nath & Sarat Chandra Memorial Garden.
The student has scored 98.2 per cent in ICSE and shares the top spot with her classmate Tulika Ranjan.
Asked what was the secret to her success, Sunanda said: “Self-confidence plays a very important part in one’s education. If you work very hard and dedicate cent per cent to your work, then you can overcome all obstacles and emerge a winner. Taking tuitions does not give results. Studying for knowledge is the key to success.”
Her father Shyama Das Chatterjee, an assistant district supply officer, is at present posted in Hajipur, and mother Somita Chatterjee is a teacher in a private school.
Sunanda’s grandfather Dr Kalidas Chatterjee spoke at length about the family’s history. He said: “Our family originally belongs to Panihati in Bengal. My father, Jitendra Nath Chatterjee moved to Patna from Bengal. Sarat Chandra was my father’s brother.
“We have been living in this house since my father came to Patna in 1910. He used to work as the assistant head of Bihar Government Press. Sarat Chandra used to visit the house frequently. He also often went to Bhagalpur.”
The town in east Bihar is the setting of many of Chatterjee’s novels and stories.