Urban chaos, traffic congestion, loud honking, wandering drunkards and constant street fights failed to distract R. Divya from her studies.
Until the shops on Govindappa Naicken Street, near Flower Bazaar, closed at 9.30 p.m, she sat on the roadside, under the street lights, reading her textbooks. Later in the night, she used torchlight, borrowed from a neighbouring shop, to prepare for her exams.
Living in the streets for the last eight years with her three younger siblings and grandmother who rides a fish cart for a living, Divya has emerged as the topper at Chennai High School on Walltax Road.
After her mother passed away eight years ago in a fire accident, her father abandoned the family, leaving the grandmother to take care of the children. In class IX, she decided to drop out of school to support her grandmother. Her school teachers and classmates persuaded her to return to school. Equally adamant was her grandmother who made sure Divya did not mis school.
The change in syllabus initially worried her. But once she realised the syllabus was easy, she prepared well. Her teachers, Sreemathy and Rajakumari, ensured she did not drop out of school and even took her to their homes, occasionally, to help her with studies.
“Now, I want to study and become an IAS officer and take care of my brothers and sister,” says Divya, with conviction in her deep black eyes.
Keywords: class X examination results