Karan Kumar Gupta, an 18-year-old boy hailing from Hazaribagh, Jharkhand is the son of a newspaper vendor – Kundan Gupta. In their family, Karan is considered to be the perfect example of hard work and determination, because, on September 11, 2020, he passed the IIT JEE exam by scoring 98.54%!
Amazingly, this is not Karan’s first attempt at the JEE (main). In January 2020 he attempted the same exam and scored 97.86 %. He decided to attempt the exam once more to get a better score.
Kundan, who is 45 years old, has been a newspaper hawker all his life. He earns approximately Rs 10,000 every month. But owing to the lockdown the distribution slowed down and he had received a pay cut. But the family kept going.
“My father has always worked hard to ensure that my elder sister and I go to school and college. When it came to my education he would run pillar to post to ensure we would never have to sacrifice it. This always motivated me to work harder. In the 9th standard, I came across a story about Elon Musk. It was about how he founded PayPal (earlier known as X.com), and later sold it to start his entrepreneurial venture – Space X. That day, I told myself that I would work hard to become an entrepreneur like him, research new concepts, and make out-of-the-world innovations. To do that I needed to get into the best institution in the country – Indian Institute of Technology (IIT),” says Karan.
Supporting Karan’s dream
In 2019, Karan topped the 10th board exam at Holy Cross School, Hazaribagh. Kundan then enrolled him into the D A V Public school. Here, the fees were high, but since Karan had good scores, he received a scholarship and was asked to pay only half of the total fees.
The same year, he also enrolled himself into Achievers Classes – a tutoring centre in Hazaribagh for the JEE examinations. Here, Directors Ajay Thakur and Arvind Thakur noticed that Karan had talent but could not afford to pay the full amount. So they offered him coaching at a nominal fee.
“When I first met Karan, I asked him why he wanted to study JEE? He replied – I want to become a scientist and then become an entrepreneur. This answer along with the scores in his boards showed that he was a passionate and hardworking student. That is all we needed to enrol him in our institution. He is very punctual, obedient, and never gives excuses for any work assigned to him. Though he did not score the percentage he expected it only motivated him to work harder,” says Arvind Thakur, the Director and Chemistry teacher at Achievers Classes.
Karan’s routine to success
For two years, Karan’s daily routine would be to wake up at 5 AM, freshen up, and revise study material from the previous day’s classes. At 7.30 he left for school by cycle and returned home only after 3 PM.
“Classes started at 8 AM, and the school was three to four km away. This gave me enough time to reach there, spend some time with my friends, and get ready for the classes.”
Once he went back home, he enjoyed his free time until 4.30 PM, post which he would cycle to Achievers Classes located a few streets away, and spend time there until 8 PM preparing for JEE examinations.
“12-14 hours of my day was filled with studies, but I never complained about it. I enjoyed the subject and concepts that were being taught. My favourite class was physics because everything made sense and it was practical. Another subject that I enjoyed is Mathematics because it is purely logical,” says Karan adding that the key to cracking JEE exams is understanding concepts and analysing every question before solving them.
In his 11th standard, noticing that Karan was working hard for his exams, his close friends gifted him six second-hand reference books related to Maths for his birthday. Karan says this was the most thoughtful gift he ever received and uses the same books even today to prepare for the JEE (Advanced) exams.
“Though I have scored a high percentage in the JEE (Main) and received entry into an NIT college, I want to aim higher and write the JEE (Advanced) exams. Getting a high percentage in this exam will give me direct entry into an IIT college, and will also be the gateway to achieving my dream of becoming an entrepreneur.”
With the lockdown, Karan finds himself studying from morning to evening. He believes this will help him score more than 99%. Until last week he would go for a walk/ run in the morning to clear his mind before he picked up his books. But, with the JEE (Advanced) exam scheduled for 27th September, he has immersed himself in revisions and clearing doubts.