QUICK BYTES: She worked as a domestic help in five homes AND scored 84% in Class 12

Studying while working full time is something few people attempt. Just the thought could make one break into a sweat, but this 17-year-old carried it off with aplomb. Shalini  works as a domestic help in 5 houses daily and yet manages to find time to study and score an excellent 84 per cent in her Class 12 exams.

Shalini, who lives in Bengaluru, has a hectic day that starts at 4.30 a.m when she begins her work cleaning utensils, washing clothes, etc in the houses she works in. In between her work, she gets little time to study so most of her studying is relegated to the night. Shalini’s mother Vijaya also works in several houses while her father, Arumugam cannot work anymore after an accident disabled him, making it imperative that Shalini also work to support the family. So Vijaya and Shalini are the sole breadwinners in the family. To add to their woes, Shalini’s younger brother, Surya, has been diagnosed with blood cancer.

Vijaya has studied till Class 5 while Arumugam is illiterate. In spite of seemingly unsurmountable problems, this teenager is now on the verge of fulfilling her dream of becoming an engineer, the first person in her family to get so far.