“I was never good at academics. I scored 48.66% in class X and 60.20% in Class XII board examinations,” says Arvind Kumar who cracked the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) examination after nine long years.
The examination is held for the admission to undergraduate courses in medical courses across institutes in India.
The son of a scrap dealer from Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh, Arvind was never motivated in studies. But the daily taunts from his father and the humiliation he faced from society turned the tide for the 26-year-old.
“Up to 2011, I was routinely called names by my father Bhikari and insulted by people. There was no respect. So I thought that becoming a doctor would earn it,” Arvind says.
Arvind started preparing for the NEET examinations but failed in his first try. Undeterred, the youngster moved to Gorakhpur to take coaching but failed again. “I continued to fail the following years as well. I also thought of quitting after 2-3 years. But my marks increased each year – which motivated me,” he adds.
Speaking to The Better India, Arvind said that after seven failed attempts, he came to know about better coaching facilities in Kota of Rajasthan. “I decided to continue studying there. I became overconfident in 2019 and lost my opportunity, but managed to crack the exam in my ninth attempt,” he adds.
Arvind scored 620 marks – which have got him a seat in a government medical college in Uttar Pradesh which is tentatively scheduled to begin academics by December 2020. The youngster is also the first person to become a doctor in the village.
NEET Not Possible Without my Father
Arvind gives credit to his family, faculty, study group and his concentration for sailing through the mentally enduring journey that lasted for almost a decade.
“My father and brother always supported me. They knew my marks were increasing each year and wanted me to continue trying until I succeeded. When I signed up with a coaching institute in Kota, it helped clear concepts I was struggling with,” Arvind says.
Arvind says that apart from the Rs 3,500 spent on the accommodation and another Rs 3,200 on food, he never socialised or steered away from his goal. “I never disclosed the number of attempts to my fellows in a study group, which could have demotivated me,” he adds.
“I had no money and knew that my father was working extra hours. The money he sent me each month for expenses could have been used to repair our house that gets flooded in rainwater. But the family endured everything for me,” Arvind adds.
Arvind’s father Bhikari is said to have worked for 12-15 hours a day earning Rs 300-400 a day. “I started before 8 am and returned home only after sunset. I think more than my physical labour it is my son’s courage and mental endurance that kept us all going,” he adds.
Bhikari says that many students give up after a couple of years. “After three failed attempts, we asked if he wanted to give up. But Arvind said that he would continue despite the family support,” he adds.
The outcome never mattered
“Both of my sons do not have any addictions, nor like to waste away time socialising with friends. All Arvind wanted to do was study, and as a father, I felt it was my duty to support him by all means. The outcome did not matter,” Bhikari tells The Better India.
Bhikari says that many parents have money and are ready to support their child, but ultimately it is the child who has to endure and feel determined to pursue studies.
The father says that his brother Amit also sacrificed at every step and supported the elder brother. “My younger son never asked for anything beyond that is needed for survival. He was the one to encourage Arvind and also convince us at all times,” he adds.
After the results, Arvind has indeed succeeded in earning respect for his father.
“My parents named me Bhikari. After Arvind’s success in NEET, people ask me about my family, shake my hand and talk politely. This has certainly changed,” his father adds.
Arvind wants to become an orthopaedic surgeon and would continue with his usual grit, he assures.
Bhikari says that he would continue supporting Arvind as long as he can. “Every parent should support the dream or passion of their child,” he concludes.
(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)