It was her mother who tucked a pencil between Devika’s toes as a child and the little girl, who came to the world without arms, has not looked back ever since. By the end of Class I, she had already mastered writing alphabets and numbers with her feet.
And now, congratulatory messages for the 16-year-old are flowing in after she scored A+ in all subjects in her 10th standard board examination this year. It may have been a few months since the Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) examination results were declared, but Devika is basking in the praises of her well-wishers. Her family has had to purchase an entirely new almirah to make room for her gifts and awards. Amid all this, Devika remains happy but unfazed, already acquainting herself with her 11th standard textbooks.
Hailing from Malappuram in Kerala, Devika has never let her physical limitations come in the way of her dreams. She now aspires to join the prestigious Civil Services someday and is striving hard towards her goal.
Devika’s parents, Sujitha and Sajeev, have always ensured that their daughter gets the best of education. For her board examinations, she was determined not to have a scribe and wrote all the papers herself. She is proficient in writing in Malayalam, English and Hindi. Devika admits to receiving wholehearted support from her teachers at Chandan Brothers Higher Secondary School in Vallikunnu, Malappuram.
“She is like any other teenager. Sometimes she is happy, sometimes she also gets angry,” her father expresses with a hearty laugh. Sajeev, a Senior Civil Police Officer at the Thenhipalam police station believes it was Devika’s strength and hard work that helped her reach success today. “She is thrilled to receive all the awards and honours,” Sajeev adds.
At present, Devika has opted for Humanities in 11th Standard and wants to pursue graduation in the same stream. “For quite a long time, the Civil Service has been her main goal,” her father reveals.
Aside from her excellence in academics, Devika is also a brilliant painter. In fact, her paintings were recently exhibited at the Kozhikode Swapnachitra Art Gallery. She also enjoys singing, and can often be heard crooning to herself. In 2019, she won the Best Cadet award in Junior Red Cross.
While she might shy away from sharing much about her achievements, Devika acknowledges her family’s immense support, including that from her little brother Gautham.
These are the stories that make us see our lives in the right perspective. A girl did not allow a physical disability come in the way of her aspirations. Why should we allow our fears to stop us from racing toward our dreams?
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)