"Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes it’s the quiet voice at the end of the day whispering ‘I will try again tomorrow’.” These words, penned by Mary Anne Radmacher, ring true for Vipul Shinde, a 25-year-old working as a web support executive at a private firm. He passed his Higher Secondary School (HSC) examinations this year — after starting to write them four years ago, in 2010.

Vipul Shinde
After struggling for years, Vipul’s determination has finally paid off. Pic/Suresh KK

While Vipul would fail to clear a few papers each time he attempted the exam between 2010 and 2014, he made it a point to celebrate his victories while accepting his failures.

After each attempt, Vipul ensured that he celebrated his success as well as his failure with his friends, inviting them to parties even though he had failed some of the papers.

“Each time, I passed in a few subjects but failed in others. But, passing in a few subjects was reason enough for me to celebrate. While deep down I felt the sorrow for not clearing the exam, I didn’t let it affect me,” said Vipul.

After attempting the HSC papers four years in a row, he finally crossed the finish line this year, breaking the jinx. After clearing all the subjects, Vipul attempted for the Secretarial Practice (SP) paper in March 2014 and cleared it.

Clearing his SSC was a struggle as well. Vipul sat for the SSC exams three years in a row, and finally cleared the exam in 2008. His perseverance is an example to all those who contemplate giving up their studies, or even their lives, after performing poorly in their exams.

Not that circumstances have been kind to Vipul. In order to help make ends meet in a family that was surviving on little, Vipul started working when he was only 15, and started supporting his family by dropping newspapers and milk from door to door. He says he did this to support his father, who was the only earning member of the family before he started contributing. It was perhaps the maturity that came with joining the workforce so early in life that taught him not to give up in the face of challenges or failure.

He said, “I used to study while travelling and even during breaks in the office, so I had to carry my books with me wherever I went.”

He added, “I chose to start working at the age of 15. It was my decision to ensure that I finished my studies, no matter what. So, while I do everything in my capacity to put food on the table, I will also make sure that I finish my graduation and fulfill my ambitions,” said Vipul.

As a professional, Vipul reports to work at 5.30 am, and finishes at 12.30 pm, to support his family of six. His father wishes to see him in khaki uniform, and Vipul hopes that passing the exam is the first step towards making those dreams come true.

For those who contemplate ending their lives when faced with academic failure, Vipul gives a parting word of advice: “Nothing can be attained by giving up on your life itself. It’s better to hang on to the little hope and struggling to achieve what God has sent us on earth for.”