All the 12 students of Happy Home & School for the Blind in Worli who appeared for the SSC exam secured above 70 per cent. In fact, 10 of them got distinction in their results.
But Rahul Gajjal (15), who topped the list with 94 per cent, is a class apart. He has been an academic achiever from the start. An accomplished pianist, Gajjal also excels at cricket, gymnastics and chess. He is the leader and conductor of his school choir. “I lost my vision when I was about a year old due to an infection caused by some medication. I studied using Braille since my childhood,” Gajjal said. Though he hasn’t made up his mind about a career choice, Gajjal says he loves playing the piano. “I give all the credit to my teachers.
My sister too is part of my success as she helped me a lot. I am proud that all my friends scored well, thanks to our group studies,” he said. Gajjal is in noble company. Of the 12 students from the school for the visually challenged, two are cancer survivors who braved extraordinary hardships to excel in their examinations.
For 16-year-old Pranjal Mathu Gajare, living in a 10x12 sq feet chawl in Ghatkopar couldn’t deter him from scoring a 97.27 per cent in his SSC examinations, the results for which were declared yesterday. One of the toppers from Mumbai division, Gajare scored a perfect 100 in Sanskrit, 99/100 in Science and 148/150 in Mathematics.
A student of Pune Vidya Bhavan, unlike other boys his age, Gajare was never into social networking or cell phones, but would always ask for books as gifts, claimed his parents. Gajare said, “I scored 95 per cent in the prelims and following that I was confident that I can do much better than this.” He consistently studied throughout the year. He wishes to pursue engineering at IIT-Bombay.
“My father works in a pharmacy. It’s all because of my parents’ support and encouragement that I could score this well. I started using CBSE books for Maths and Science since I was in Std VIII. This helped me a lot in giving national-level competitive exams for scholarships,” Gajare added.