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Kolkata students who excelled in the test of life

Life was anyway difficult for them, the Covid pandemic only made things worse. Several had wondered whether they would be able to carry on with their studies. They did and how. The higher secondary results were declared on Friday. Many students returned with stellar marks but there were some whose high scores did not tell the story of their struggle. The Telegraph spoke to three such students

Subhankar Chowdhury | Published 12.06.22, 01:50 AM
(L-R) Snehasis Nandan, Laboni Pramanik, Arpita Banerjee

(L-R) Snehasis Nandan, Laboni Pramanik, Arpita Banerjee

Telegraph Picture

Snehasis Nandan, 92.4%

The Park Institution


He works as a help in the sari shops in Shyambazar to sustain his family. Snehasis worked in the evenings, sometimes till 11 in the night. So, he had to finish his studies during the day. His father is a hawker who sets up stall  on a wooden box on the footpath close to the Shyambazar five-point crossing. He earns Rs 3,000 a month by selling plastic cups and dishes.

During the pandemic his earnings dipped to such an extent that his son Snehasis had to look for odd  jobs after the Class 10 board exams.

Life has been a struggle for him but he has not relented.

As a help Snehasis has to load and unload the stock at the showrooms in Shyambazar.

During the wedding season Snehasis works with the local catering groups.

“After the slump in my father’s earnings, our family received another blow when my mother got injured following an accident while lighting a stove in our room. I had to start working to help my family,” said Snehasis.

He resides in a slum in Belgachia and is engaged twice or thrice a week with a daily wage of Rs 250.

“Earnings of my father have not been the same even after the dip in Covid cases,” said Snehasis, who has an elder sister who takes care of the daily chores.

He has scored 98 both in English and History. In political science, nutrition and Bengali his scores are 92, 84 and 81. He wants to pursue history in college.

Laboni Pramanik, 85.2%

The Park Institution

She occasionally works as a tele-caller on behalf of a fashion and lifestyle company to support her family. As a tele-caller, her task involves inviting guests to exhibitions organised by the company.

During the engagement that lasts for four to five days at a stretch periodically, Laboni earns Rs 250 each day.

She had to take up the odd-job because her father, the sole earning member in the family, who used to work as the conductor of a private bus that plies on route 91 — from Shyambazar to Bhangar in North 24-Parganas — had to give up his job following an accident in 2019.

“He had hurt his knees and could not stand on his feet after the accident. He needed crutches. Learning about our financial constraints, a former student of our school got me the job,” said Laboni.

Her mother works as a cook.

But several households retrenched her in the first one-and-half-years of the pandemic to minimise the window of getting infected.

“She used to earn Rs 6,000. That was gone during the pandemic. I tried to support my family in every way possible,”  said Laboni, who wants to pursue commerce.

Supriya Panja, the headmaster of Laboni’s school, said the family was in a financial distress and could not afford datapacks for Laboni’s online classes.

“We supported her from the corpus of the school. We also helped her with notes,” said Panja.

Laboni, who resides in Ballav Street in north Kolkata, has scored 86 in English, 92 in education, 90 in computer application, 76 in political science and 78 in Bengali.

“I want to pursue commerce so that I can get a decent job and help my family,” she said.

Arpita Banerjee, 84.4%

Dum Dum Shree Aurobindo Vidyamandir

She started giving private tuition to support her family because her father, who is a driver, hardly earned anything during the pandemic.The families that hired her father’s services stopped calling him after the pandemic set in.

Her mother is a homemaker and brother studies in Class II.

“I started giving tuition to three students who study in the primary section of an English medium school to sustain my family,” said Arpita.

She had passed Class X boards from Dum Dum Road Government Sponsored Girls’ School but shifted to Dum Dum Shree Aurobindo Vidyamandir in Class XI which is closer to her house to save on the travel expenses.

Dum Dum Road Government Sponsored Girls’ School in Chiriya More required her to travel both by bus and auto.

Her new school is a just a bus ride away from her home.

“I changed my school to save on the travel expenses. Every penny mattered to me. However, at that time I did not know that the Covid pandemic would force schools to remain closed for such a long period and that classes would be held over online platforms,” she said.

Arpita has scored 92 in Education, 90 in computer application, 86 in English, 78 in Bengali and 76 in political science.

She continued her study with the tab that the state government provided.

Did she ever approach the school for bearing the cost of datapacks, given her financial constraint?

“I did not approach the school for this. I thought I should be able to manage it on my own” she said.

Arpita wants to pursue psychology at the undergraduate level, said Ashim Nanda, the headmaster of her school.

Last updated on 12.06.22, 04:39 AM

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