They belong to different regions. But these toppers of SSLC class X examination with 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 marks-499. Both of them plan to take biology group and pursue medicine.

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

“I expected to score above 495. I am happy that my efforts have been rewarded,” said Rakshana whose parents are working in the international school run by Velammal Educational Trust.

This helped Rakshana to spend more time in school. “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 to me. I was confident as I was thorough with the subjects.” Rakshana plans to become cardiologist. “I will resume classical dance classes now that the tension is over,” said a relaxed Rakshana.

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 for my daughter was to leave her alone while she was studying. I knew she would get over 495, but I didn’t expect 499.”

Initially Hamsika took Sanskrit because it was easy to study, but later she developed an interest for the language. Her presentation and hard work that made her one of the three toppers in class brought her laurels, she added. Hamsika plans to follow in the footsteps of her grandfather and study medicine. In Tamil Nadu, only those who chose Tamil as first language are recognised as official toppers.