| Mithun Chakraborty feted by classmates for his sparkling tally of 979 in HS 2005. Picture by Amit Datta
Higher Secondary 2005 saw the city surge back into focus with improved performances from all well-known schools.
At South Point, which has produced the two highest rankers among 394,636 candidates, Mithun Chakraborty braved the sun to face the media. His classmate Ananda Roy, behind him by just one mark, had still to arrive.
When he did, there was almost a stampede to speak to him. In a school where almost 50 per cent of the candidates (242 of 501) have scored more than 75 per cent, one has to be in the big league to attract attention.
Principal Jayita Solomon was all smiles as she read out the names of toppers since 1979. For a school that has come numero uno in 1982, 1984, 1994, 1997 and 1998, handling the frenzy of success is nothing new. 'We had a first-second position result in the mid-70s, too,' veteran teacher Dipali Sengupta added.
Mithun said he loves all subjects. Proof of that lies in the uniform distribution of marks in his 979 aggregate (196 in mathematics being the best). Named after the actor for being born on the day he organised Hope '86, Bengal's biggest Bollywood soiree, Mithun has forgotten even the few movies he has seen of his namesake. 'The pressure of the last two years',' he shrugs.
To overcome the pressure, he would listen to music, watch television and read storybooks, just as his classmate Ananda would play the synthesiser in between 15 hours of preparation.
Mithun never came second since Class VII. 'He was possessive about the first position, while Ananda improved over the years,' their principal commented.
Mithun attended tutorials for all four science subjects with a mathematics tutor at home 'to get help with problems without wait'. Having secured 18th place in the Joint Entrance Examination, his wait is now for the IIT results. Ananda, 67th on the list, wants to study electronics at any of the IITs.
Neighbouring Patha Bhavan was celebrating what principal Ishita Das called the school's best result in a long time. A total of 236 students had taken the exam. Of them, 203 got first division, with 66 scoring above 75 per cent. The highest marks recorded was 949.
'I want to be a doctor,' a beaming Abhishek Malakar declared at Hindu School. He had just added 965 as HS aggregate to his list of achievements, comprising a rank of 92 in engineering and 208 in medical in this year's Joint Entrance Examination.
Among 146 students, 121 here got a first division. Seven students got above 900 marks, while 70 received star marks.
Jadavpur Vidyapith sent 185 students to HS 2005. Of them, 164 got a first division, including 64 star marks. The highest tally recorded is 912.
The girls' schools, too, had a lot to add to the success saga.
Gokhale Memorial Girls' School recorded 121 first division aggregates, of which 61 were star marks. The highest tally from the school is 924.
Carmel Convent School registered 185 first divisions, including 44 star marks. The highest marks: 906.
Bidya Bharati Girls' High School had sent up 155 students. Among them, 137 secured a first division, while 56 got star marks. The highest marks were 927.
Amid this celebration, a special toast was raised at South Point for Moiz Tundawala. The visually-challenged boy scored 720 with humanities subjects. He has signed up to study law at NUJS.