All of 74, he waits to clear Class 10 - and get marriedMarch 28th, 2008 - 2:45 pm ICT by admin
By Anil Sharma
Alwar (Rajasthan), March 28 (IANS) If anyone exemplifies the never say die spirit, it has to be 74-year-old Shiv Charan who is once again appearing for the Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education’s Class 10 exam - for an incredible 39th time. All with the hope of eventually getting married! He is a little hard of hearing and age has slowed him down, but on Thursday Pappu, as he is known, used the help of a stick to walk four kilometres from his village in Alwar district, about 140 km from the state capital Jaipur, to the examination centre in Maharajawas village.
That the average age of a student appearing for Class 10 examination is 15 years was no dampener for the eager student, who took his first board exam way back in 1969 and vowed to get married only after he cleared it.
Almost four decades later, he is still at it. Too weak to continue farming but with enough stamina to take another exam.
“For me, success is not merely about clearing the examinations. It will also throw open the doors of marriage,” Pappu told IANS.
His ambitions haven’t waned with age either.
“Only a girl of below 30 years of age would be my wife,” he said confidently, adding that he was hopeful of clearing the exam this year.
So it was on Thursday that he gave the English paper with “complete concentration”, as the invigilator put it.
Maths is a bit of a problem for the student, who last year failed in all the subjects except Sanskrit, getting only 103 of a total 600.
“It’s the mathematics paper that always pulls me down,” said Pappu.
“Sometimes invigilators throw me out of examination halls because they think I am the guardian of a student. Whenever I go to the exam centre, people converge in hordes to see me,” he added.
He’s right. On Thursday, Pappu was the cynosure of many eyes. Children looked at him curiously and others also gathered to take a look at the aged man sitting down like any other student with paper and pencil in hand.
“I have come here from a nearby village just to see him”, Kamal Meena told IANS.
“I first thought that he had wrongly entered the examination centre. I was really surprised when I was told that he was also appearing for the examination,” said Vijay, a student.
But Pappu is undeterred.
“Pran Jaaye Par Vachan Na Jaaye. (I’d rather die than go back on my words). I will continue taking the board examinations till I pass it,” he said determinedly.
Now the question is when will the cry go out, “Pappu pass ho gaya” (Pappu has passed). The man is waiting.
(Anil Sharma can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)