The students of Kasturba Gandhi schools enjoy the spread with deputy commissioner Uma Shankar Singh (second from right) and his wife Raksha Prasad (to his right) at a 3-star hotel in Bokaro on Monday. Picture by Pankaj Singh
When you go to bed hungry but wake up to success, you’ve certainly earned your bread. And perhaps more.
Frugal homemade meals of dal-chawal made way for sumptuous 3-star fare of fried rice, palak paneer, naan, stir-fried mushroom, kurkure bhindi and mixed vegetables for three young academic achievers of Bokaro who were invited to a surprise Sunday lunch by none other than the deputy commissioner of the district.
For three Kasturba Gandhi schoolgirls — intermediate qualified Laxmi Kumari and matriculates Anjali Kumari and Laxmi Kumari — even dreams weren’t made of such extravagant feasts. Their parents either daily-wage earners or farmhands, the trio had often had to go empty stomach, but that never deterred them from their academic goals.
While KGS-Chandankyari student Laxmi notched 81.4 per cent in her Class X board exam, conducted by Jharkhand Academic Council, KGS-Petarwar pupil Anjali score 81.6 per cent. Laxmi of KGS-Jaridih did her school and parents proud with 73.8 per cent in intermediate.
Their perseverance earned them and their parents the delightful date with deputy commissioner Uma Shankar Singh and his wife Raksha Prasad at 3-star hotel Hans Regency in the steel city.
“I couldn’t believe my ears when DEO (district education officer) Rajiv Lochan called me to ask whether I would prefer veg or non-veg food for lunch. He then told me the DC had invited us. For a moment I thought he was talking to the wrong person. But, the next thing I did was scout for my best dress,” said Laxmi senior.
She added that she had loved the food, especially the naan and palak paneer. “The sweets — rasogolla and gulab jamun — too were simply irresistible.”
Anjali, whose father works as a field labourer, said they were hesitant at first. “We stood outside the plush gate (of the hotel), not sure whether we would be allowed in. To our great relief, DC Sir and his wife came out with folded hands and guided us to our seats. The food was awesome. I liked the tomato soup, which they served first, and then the mushroom preparation in the main course. The raita was yummy as well,” the teenager raised on maar-bhaat (starch rice) recalled the “best Sunday” of her life.
For Laxmi junior, scoops of flavoured ice cream was the icing on the cake. “I liked the mushroom and paneer too. It was more than a dream come true,” said the daughter of a Chandankyari farmer.
Deputy commissioner Singh said throwing a lunch was the least he could do for these hardworking students. “It is a small gesture to encourage them. Seeing them, others too will strive to excel.”
He added that KGS-Gomia girl Kanti Kumari, who notched 80 per cent in her matriculation, was also among invitees that included DEO Lochan, district superintendent of education Vinit Kumar and four wardens of the residential schools. “But unfortunately, she fell sick.”
On November 14 last year, the generous deputy commissioner had treated 700-odd underprivileged students to the Hrithik Roshan-starrer movie Krrish.
Should other district bosses follow the example?