What does one expect from conversations with toppers? Here are excerpts from those on top of the charts in this year's matriculation stream results:

“The exams felt like class tests. The presence of external invigilators was what made them slightly different,” says Shrreya Agarawal of St. Patrick Matriculation Higher Secondary School, who has stood first in Puducherry with 497 on 500. Before you can recover from the shock of that revelation, Shrreya adds that she did not stop any of her extracurricular activities, which include dance, karate and drawing, till the end. “There was no tension or pressure from my parents' side. There was only inspiration from my brother who topped in 2004,” says the wonder kid.

“I wanted to be Rank 1. I was expecting more in English, but I was let down,” rues S. Karthik of Petit Seminaire Higher Secondary School, despite a total of 488 (with 91 in English), emerging second in Puducherry in the matriculation stream. In order to do well in Class X, Karthik gave up his extracurricular activities after Class IX. In addition, he quit watching television and woke up at 5 a.m. every morning, when exams were nearing. And he is determined to do the same in two years' time. “I want to come first in Class XII, and I will try very hard,” he says with steely determination.

“I would like to thank my parents, teachers and friends for all the support…” rattles off M. Anand of St. Patrick Matriculation Higher Secondary School. When reminded that it sounds like an Oscar acceptance speech, he points out that this is a big achievement for him. After all, coming second in Puducherry with a 488 on 500 is not a joke. ‘Daily lessons daily' has been his mantra for success. “Never more than two hours of studies a day. I couldn't resist the TV though; I watched the IPL, movies and music channels during exams. While Sanskrit was pretty easy, I put in a little extra effort for mathematics,” he reveals, having ended up with a centum and 99 respectively.

“I took no strain. I planned out exactly what had to be done, and studied only what was necessary,” says S. Swapna of St. Joseph of Cluny Matriculation Higher Secondary School, third in Puducherry, only one mark behind Karthik and Anand in total. “I also slept a lot. It helps increase memory,” she adds casually. Does she also want to be a doctor like all the other toppers? Surprisingly, Swapna differs in that respect too. Chartered Accountancy or company secretaryship is her choice of career.