At a time when celebrations are underway at schools across the city, where the 90 per cent plus club is being hailed victorious in the ICSE’s Class X and Class XII board examinations, a mail circulated by the Bishops School hailed the success of Nihaal Raheja, a Class XII student who scored 66 per cent marks. What makes his achievement so special is the fact that Raheja achieved this feat despite an extremely low vision, 3.2 to be precise, with only 30 per cent visibility.
While for the final examinations, Raheja was allowed both a narrator and writer, preparing for the exams was a task in itself. “My school gave me a lot of support or else I wouldn’t have made it. My teachers used to read out the questions to me even in school. But the biggest support was my mother. I had hoped for better results, but nevertheless I am happy,” says the resident of NIBM Road.
Having lost his father two years back, it was his mother Shridhaa Raheja, an interior designer, who helped the teenager with his studies. “He would not be able to write, so the school allowed him to record lectures and listen to them later. One does not realise the everyday struggle of a child with low vision. Getting notes, practising for exams, everything is a challenge but my son was supported by this school from his childhood,” she recalled.
His school management hailed his achievement, saying it was time that efforts, and not mere marks, were celebrated. “Despite suffering a handicap to such a great extent, and losing his father when he was in Class X, he continued to work hard and prepare sincerely for his Class XII board examinations. He is very ambitious,” said principal Frank Freese.
Dancing remains the passion of the feisty teenager, who has managed to get a seat in the Shiamak Davar Dance Academy in Mumbai for a short programme. He is now headed there with his mother. “I hope I make a career in dance, it’s my dream,” says the youngster.