Over three decades after he missed out on the Board exams as a student, the 51-year-old laundry man would spend the day ironing clothes and then burn the midnight oil studying at night; he scored 66% and his daughter 89%
Unable to appear for the SSC exams while he was a student 35 years ago, a 51-year-old finally decided to tackle the unfinished task this year, the very year his daughter was appearing for the same exam. Both emerged with flying colours, with the father scoring 66 per cent and his daughter notching 89 per cent.
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Shah Mohammad Shaikh and his daughter Mehek celebrate their success in the SSC exams this year
Shah Mohammad Shaikh and his daughter, Mehek (15), live in the slums at Parksite, Vikhroli, where he also works as a laundry man, ironing clothes for a living. Shah has lived in the area all his life, and was a Std X student at Parksite Municipal Secondary Urdu Medium School in 1979-80. However, that year he couldn’t appear for the Board exams due to some family problems.
“I couldn’t take the exams due to personal reasons, but when my daughter started Std X, I thought even I should study and get an SSC certificate to my name. Usually people do not make reattempts after failing; I went to my old school, recovered all my old documents, took readmission and passed in the first attempt,” said Shah.
But the journey wasn’t easy. The laundry man earns Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 a month, and being the sole breadwinner of the family, he couldn’t close shop to study for the exams. Instead, he ironed clothes all day and then burned the midnight oil, studying late into the night.
“I always studied for two to three hours in the night as I have a family to look after. I wanted to pass but didn’t want my family to sacrifice their needs, so I worked extra hard,” recalled Shaikh. With all his hard work, however, he gives a lot of the credit to his daughter, who is a student at Dominic Savio Vidyalaya at Ghatkopar (East).
“With the help of my daughter and two boys who live in my neighbourhood, I managed to pass. Whenever I had doubts in Maths I would approach the boys, who had passed with 90 per cent last year. And besides, my daughter was always my pillar.” Mehek herself is proud of her father’s accomplishment and said, “I am very proud of my father as he managed to pass with first class. He has now set an example for other people who tend to give up easily.”