Mumbai: Girls rise from ashes of their homes to crack HSC exams

Despite the fact that their homes burnt down just a day before their Board exams, Firdos Ansari and Ankita Solakar have emerged with first class scores

Proving that grit and determination can beat even the most daunting odds, two girls from Mumbai emerged triumphant after the HSC results were announced yesterday, both with admirable scores that belie the trauma they suffered when their homes burned down just before the papers.

Ankita and Firdos celebrate their HSC exam triumph with their families. Both girls did not let the trauma of losing their homes dishearten them, and worked hard to score first-class results
Ankita (above) and Firdos (below, right) celebrate their HSC exam triumph with their families. Both girls did not let the trauma of losing their homes dishearten them, and worked hard to score first-class results

mid-day had reported two separate blazes in the city that had ravaged these girls’ homes just a day before they had to appear for exams.

Mumbai building fire: Lost everything, even hall ticket, says girl (Firdos Ansari's story reported by mid-day on February 7)

Mumbai: HSC student aces exam, day after losing house in fire (Ankita Solakar's tale reported by mid-day on March 5)

The brave girls Firdos Ansari and Ankita Solakar nevertheless went on to take the exams, and are now pleasantly surprised to learn how well they have fared, with 67 and 66 per cent respectively.

The fires
On February 6, Firdos, an HSC student at Burhani College, was busy preparing for her oral exams the next day, when a fire engulfed her Byculla apartment and all the possessions in it, including her hall ticket and books. “In a fraction of a second, all we could see were flames.

My notes, my guides, the entire syllabus was in the cupboard which got burnt. I didn’t even have my hall ticket with me anymore,” said Firdos who was to appear for her HSC oral exams from the next day. Scoring 67 per cent has raised her spirits, she said, adding, “I am happy with my marks and am now focusing on pursuing a career in corporate law.”

Ankita went through a similar situation after her house in the nearly century-old Hirjee Bhojraj Chawl near Cotton Green railway station was gutted in a fire on March 3. She appeared for her HSC paper the very next day.

“Since I had nothing on me, not even my basic study material, I had to fall back on my relatives and friends who supported me completely. I owe my success to them,” said Ankita of her 66 per cent result.

While Firdos and Ankita are relieved with their first-class results, both believe they could have done far better if the fires hadn’t taken place. “I am happy with what I scored, but because of the fire I could not prepare well for the exam, nor could I focus entirely while writing my paper.

Had this not happened I would have scored way better,” said Ankita, who is looking forward to celebrating her success with her family.

mid-day helped me
Lacking a hall ticket, Ankita Solakar had approached the police and local corporator to get the necessary certificates that would allow her to appear for the Board exams. To her relief, the authorities co-operated fully with her, as did the school that was serving as her examination centre. It helped considerably that mid-day had highlighted her plight in a report, as this helped persuade the officials of her dire need, said Ankita.

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