From construction site to NEET centre
A boy who had quit studies after higher secondary exams and started working on a daily wage to support his family appeared for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test, the gateway to undergraduate medical courses in the country, on Sunday.
Tapan Parua had been eking out a living for himself and his family over the past few years by carrying building materials at construction sites in Mumbai and Bangalore. He decided to leave it all in December 2019 and come back home to Sagar Island, in South 24-Parganas, to study.
“I was working on a daily wage and sending money home. But it was not enough because my parents are ailing and they need more money,” Tapan said before entering his exam centre, DPS Ruby Park.
“One day it dawned on me that to have a standing in life, I had to study. People rarely respect you if you are not educated.”
Tapan arrived in Calcutta on Saturday. Accompanied by his brother-in-law, Tapan walked a kilometre from their village in Hatkhola to Ghoramara island. They then took a boat to Lot number 8 and from there a bus to Behala, where they stayed the night at a relative’s house.
At home, preparing for the medical entrance exam did not entail a break from the struggle to keep the family afloat. At times, he had to help his brothers on the field.
“That is part of life, I don’t mind it. Such are our circumstances,” Tapan said.
The family lives in a house with a tiled roof, which gets flooded during the monsoon. “We shift to a relative’s house in the village and come back after water recedes,” he said.
“They earn very little. If they don’t work for a day they won’t get paid,” said Tapan’s brother-in-law, Tapan Naskar, who is a mason.
The village where the family lives hardly has any medical facilities.
“For any treatment, we have to travel 18km to Kakdwip,” said the examinee. “If I have to give my family and myself a decent life, I have to do some job. Else, we will continue struggling…. I don’t know what is in store for us.”