They belong to different regions, but these two toppers of the class X SSLC examination do share some things in common

They belong to different regions, but these two toppers of the class X SSLC examination, who took Sanskrit as first language, do share some things in common.

S. Rakshana of Velammal Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Ponneri, Tiruvallur district, and V. Hamsika of St. Patrick’s Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Puducherry, scored the same mark of 499. They have however not made it the list of State first ranks as, in Tamil Nadu, only those who choose Tamil as their first language are recognised as official toppers.

Both Rakshana and Hamsika plan to take the biology group in class XI and pursue medicine.

While Rakshana missed a centum in English, it was mathematics that stopped Hamsika from getting the full score of 500.

“I expected to score above 495. I am happy that my efforts have been rewarded,” said Rakshana, whose parents work in the international school run by Velammal Educational Trust. This resulted in her spending more time in school, she says. “I stayed on at school till 10.30 p.m. to study with hostel students. I practised writing exams at home at least ten times. The papers were not easy. Maths was challenging. I was confident as I was thorough with the subjects.”

Rakshana, who plans to become a cardiologist, expressed relief over the fact that the exams are now behind her. “I will resume classical dance classes now that the tension is over,” she said.

For the Puducherry topper, it was a pleasant surprise. “I never expected to score the top mark in the State, but now that I got it, I am still waiting for the feeling to sink in,” said a jubilant V. Hamsika.

Hamsika’s mother Uma said: “The best thing I did was to leave her alone while she was studying. I knew she would get over 495, but I didn’t expect her to score 499.”

Initially, Hamsika took Sanskrit as her first language as it was easy to study. Later, though, she developed an interest for the language. Her consistent hard work made her one of the three toppers in class and brought her laurels, she said. Hamsika plans to follow in the footsteps of her grandfather and study medicine.