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Book Vendor’s Son Studies on Footpath Under Streetlights, Scores 93% in Boards!

A student of Harrow Hall School in Kolkata, Abhay’s one-room home barely had space to keep his books, let alone a study table.

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Every year across the country, lakhs of students appear for their Class 10 and Class 12 Board examinations.

While many Indian parents have the finances to send their children to various coaching classes and crash courses that help them prepare and give them a shot at acing their exams, countless others cannot afford to do so.

However, adverse situations can push people to reach greater heights and the story of 15-year-old Abhay Gupta from Park Street, Kolkata is no different. The ICSE exam results were announced on Monday, and the boy and his family were over the moon—Abhay had scored an extraordinary 93%!

Abhay’s father Rambabu is a street vendor who has been selling magazines, newspapers, and second-hand books near Moulin Rouge on Park Street for the past two decades. With a meagre income that was barely enough to meet household expenses, there was no way that he could afford to send for Abhay to coaching centres.

However, Abhay took this in his stride and was determined to make the best out of whatever resources he had.

For representational purposes. Source: Facebook.

He would study under the streetlights, night after night, on the pavement near his father’s stall while seated on a packing case. A student of Harrow Hall School, Abhay’s one-room home barely had space to keep his books, let alone a study table. But the young boy persevered.

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Rambabu had dreamed that his sons would study well and be able to break out of the circle of poverty through education. Well, Abhay made his dream come true, and upon seeing the results, the proud father could not contain his happiness.

“My father always wanted my brother and me to study well so that we could converse in English and read English novels which he has been selling for the last two decades. He barely earns enough to make meet both ends meet. We are a joint family, and since there isn’t enough space to study at home, so I studied under streetlights and sometimes in hotel lobbies and corridors for my board exam. I studied mostly at night after returning from school between 7:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.,” said Abhay to The Times of India.


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Abhay’s schoolteachers are also a part of his inspiring story. They went the extra mile to assist him in studies and even provided free coaching after school hours. Rambabu’s regular customers, who knew of his financial constraints, also helped out by offering monetary contributions to Abhay so that he could purchase textbooks and stationery.

With his fantastic score, Abhay has secured admission in the much sought-after St James’ School, where he will pursue his higher secondary education. Now, his next goal is to crack the IIT-JEE, and he knows that it is no mere task.

“Without the right training and proper guidance, I may not be able to crack the entrance exam. Coaching centres are demanding high fees, which my parents can’t afford. They have to look after my younger brother who is in Class V. I am looking for financial support to enrol in a tutorial centre,” he said.

We admire the resilience in the young boy who did not let his adverse conditions deviate him from his goal of scoring above 90 percent in the Board exams. We hope that he can find financial aid to fuel his future dreams.

(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)

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Written by Lekshmi Priya S

Shuttling between existentialist views and Grey's Anatomy, Lekshmi has an insanely disturbing habit of binge reading. An ardent lover of animals and plants, she also specializes in cracking terribly sad jokes.