Toppers fear dreams will turn to ashes

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By JULIUS GOMES AND RABI BANERJEE
  • Published 28.05.07
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They have come so close to their dream, yet the dream lies so far.

Subrata Sarkar, Pramik Majumder, Snigdhendu Patra and Abhijit Dey have all ranked high on the state JEE merit list. But acute financial constraints have come in the way of realising their ambition, nursed since childhood, of becoming a doctor or an engineer.

Subrata, from Hanskhali (Nadia), 70 km from Calcutta, has ranked 59. Pramik, also from Hanskhali, has ranked 75. Snigdhendu, of Lake Gardens, and Abhijit, of Ultadanga, have ranked 313 and 668, respectively. But all four fear they may have to give up studies unless a good Samaritan comes forward with generous help.

“I felt sad seeing the JEE merit list. I have come so close to realising my cherished dream of becoming a doctor, but my family can no longer sponsor my studies,” sighed Snigdhendu.

Originally from Joynagar, he had stayed in tutor Amiyo Maity’s house in Lake Gardens for more than a year, preparing for the JEE. Abhijit, too, had studied under Maity’s guidance.

“Both the boys are brilliant. But all their efforts will come to a naught unless someone helps them out,” said Maity.

While Snigdhendu had scored 93 per cent in Madhyamik from Majilpur JM Training School, in Joynagar, Abhijit had notched up 93 per cent from Taki House for Boys. This was their first attempt at the JEE.

Snigdhendu’s father, Ratan, is yet to receive his pension, long after retiring as primary schoolteacher. He had laughed off his son’s desire to become a doctor.

Abhijit’s father, Ajay Nath Dey, works in a clothes shop on Park Street and earns Rs 3,000 per month.

“I was very ill during the JEE. I would have come within the first 10 had I been well,” said Abhijit, whose dream is to become a computer engineer. “My father wept after hearing my rank, as he knew he could no longer afford my studies.”

Like Abhijit, Pramik and Subrata, too, want to become computer engineers.

Subrata had passed his Higher Secondary last year from Bagula High School with 82 per cent marks. He started preparing for the JEE in March last year with books donated by elders in the village. Sister Sankari gave him the money to buy the JEE form and also bore the travel expense for taking the test.

“Is there no one who can show him a way out?” rued father Jatin, a fisherman who earns barely Rs 25 a day. “I even scolded him out of frustration when the JEE results were announced.” Sankari earns Rs 700 a month by giving private tuitions.

Pramik, also from Bagula High School, had scored 85 per cent in Madhyamik, the second-highest marks in the school.

“After the HS two months ago, I told him I could not allow him to read further. I asked him to look for a job,” said father Manmotho. He runs a grocery shop, while his other son Sadhan is a rickshaw-puller. The two earn less than Rs 100 a day.

While Pramik has left for a relative’s house in Madhya Pradesh to seek help, Subrata stays put in their thatched hut, resigned to his fate. “I don’t know what to do. My ailing father looks at me and weeps,” said Subrata.