On Monday, thousands of nervous students frowned over dog-eared textbooks minutes prior to the state board’s Physics exam. For Hassaan Shakeel Ansari, a 17-year-old Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) student, there was a bigger test to pass. After all, dictating answers you cannot write yourself because of a raw pain shooting up from a broken leg doesn’t make for the best circumstance to work out derivations or calculate force equations. But he did it through sheer force of will.
Hassaan had been operated the day before on his right thigh, which had cracked under the weight of a speeding bike two days ago. He had been on his way home to Agripada on Saturday afternoon after giving his English exam when his bike was sent lurching by another biker coming from the wrong side. The bike ran over his thigh, smashing his bone.
Passers-by informed his father, Dr Shakeel Ansari. Hassaan was rushed to Saifee Hospital, where in the early hours of Sunday he underwent a surgery for an internal fracture on his right femur (thigh bone). Dr Shakir Kapadia of Saifee Hospital implanted a titanium rod in his thigh.
‘I am ready’
The very next day, Hassaan showed up at the exam centre - Anjuman-I-Islam’s Saif Tyabji Girls’ High School and Junior College of Arts & Science at Mumbai Central in an ambulance. He had asked to be discharged from the hospital just so he could appear for his Physics paper. His father Dr Ansari said, “When I reached the accident spot, I saw Hassaan lying injured. The first words out of his mouth were, ‘I will give my exam on Monday anyhow.’ He was so determined. I am amazed he is here at the exam centre today.”
Hassaan was assigned a separate room and a writer for the paper. “My leg was throbbing while I was sitting and dictating answers to my writer. But I managed to sit longer as my father had brought in bedding for me.” A makeshift bed had been devised for him with a mattress and bedcovers spread on two juxtaposed desks.
Did he feel confident? “I am fine and would like to give all my exams. I have been preparing from the beginning of the year so I am ready,” he said. His father said, “Soon after the mishap, we informed his school, Saboo Siddik Polytechnic College, and they suggested that we inform the Mumbai division of the state board and get a writer for him to help him give the exam.”
Hassaan, a second-year junior college student, wishes to pursue mechanical engineering and has worked hard this academic year to pursue his passion. He had scored 76 per cent in his ICSE board exam earlier when he was at St Peter’s School at Mazgaon. Perhaps he learned how to keep his chin up from his father, who thinks that despite everything, luck has favoured his child.
“Hassaan is very lucky that he met with an accident which was not major, was operated almost immediately, and was able to appear for his exam on Monday. He will give his next paper - mathematics - after six days.” Najma Kazi, principal of Hassaan’s exam centre, said, “The college in-charge from Saboo Siddik Polytechnic accompanied the student. His father had obtained a letter from the state board allowing him to use a writer. But he cannot be given extra time. We provided him a separate room.” The principal added, “But the boy drew some diagrams with his own hand.”