Mumbai: Teen battles crippling pain to ace Board exams

When Kabir Pankaj brought home an 86 per cent result in the ICSE Board exams, his parents couldn’t have been surprised, despite the fact that he was considered by many to be a brilliant student. In fact, the exams were an uphill battle for the 16-year-old, who had spent the past two years battling crippling body pain that doctors could neither explain nor cure.

The Board exams were an uphill battle for Kabir Pankaj, who had spent the past two years battling crippling body pain that doctors could neither explain, nor cure
The Board exams were an uphill battle for Kabir Pankaj, who had spent the past two years battling crippling body pain that doctors could neither explain, nor cure

However, with a little help from homeopathy, Kabir eventually began to feel an improvement and, with just three weeks to go, he decided he would brave the Board exams this year. Kabir, a Mulund resident, is no stranger to hard work.

Having begun his education in the Marathi-medium Wamanrao Muranjan High School, he had to adapt to a major change when his parents decided to shift him to an English medium school in Std VI. His parents believed that since Kabir was a smart kid, an English medium school’s curriculum would keep him better challenged and engaged.

Despite this major change, Kabir proved his parents right when he began to score well within a couple of years. In 2011, Kabir’s parents decided to shift him to Pawar Public High School in Bhandup, as that was closer to their residence. The boy fared well here as well, but things took a turn for the worse in 2013 the crucial Board exams year.

“I felt extreme pain throughout my body. I could not even hold a pen properly. I did not know what was happening to me, and this was happening in Std X; a crucial year in any student’s life,” Kabir recalled. Due to the pain, he wasn’t able to attend school and had to skip a year.

“I could not sit comfortably for more than half an hour, as I was experiencing excruciating pain. Because of this, I could not appear for my board exams that year,” said the teen. Kabir’s mysterious condition baffled several doctors, who were unable to diagnose the problem.

Only when he started treatment under homeopathy specialist Dr Kshama Meher in October 2014 did he start to feel better. “He had already been to many allopathic doctors but the problem just could not be diagnosed. Kabir is a brilliant child; his mind was over-stimulated and I realised that he could not focus for long.

I gave him medication that helped set this imbalance right,” explained Dr Meher. After skipping one year of school in 2013, and attending on and off in 2014, Kabir decided he had lost enough time to his pain, and told his parents he wanted to take the Board exams.

“In February this year, almost three weeks before the examinations were to commence, he told us that he wanted to sit for the Boards. We weren’t sure if it was the right decision, but he had already missed out on a year and we did not want to discourage him,” Namrata said.

Citing his health condition, Kabir’s school was able to ensure that the Board waived the mandatory requirement of at least 75 per cent attendance through the school year. With only 20 days left in hand to complete the entire syllabus, the teachers did their best to help Kabir cope.

“Initially, when I started studying from the last week of January, it felt extremely tedious. Though the pain was decreasing, thanks to the medication, I was not sure if I would be able to finish the syllabus. But my teachers would sit with me in the library and help me personally,” said Kabir.

To everyone’s shock, when the ICSE results were declared recently, Kabir scored 86 per cent. “I am very happy that I was able to appear for my exams in the nick of time and that I fared so well,” said Kabir, adding that he hoped to go on working hard towards his dream of becoming a theoretical physicist.

‘Intelligent boy’
Suma Das, Kabir’s school principal said, “We supported Kabir to the best of our abilities. Our teachers as well as the ICSE Board were extremely helpful. We offered him a writer but he refused. We have been observing him for the past two years and we knew he was an intelligent boy, but he has surprised us by surpassing all expectations.”

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