Twenty-eight years after she quit studies, 53-year-old Shila Rani Das has passed madhyamik (Class 10) examinations conducted by the Tripura Board of Secondary Education (TBSE), even as her two daughters passed higher secondary examinations of the same board.
The story of Shila Rani, from Chowdhury Mill Para in Agartala, is nothing short of a struggle of cinematic proportions. Speaking to indianexpress.com, she said she appeared in madhyamik examinations for the first time in 1994, when she was already a clerk in the Agartala municipality (now a corporation).
“I tried but failed to clear the madhyamik exam then. I tried several times to clear it, but every time some obstacle came up,” Rani said.
She said she had made up her mind to appear in the board examinations four years after her first attempt, but her father died that year. In 2011, she filled up the application form for the exam again, but her husband died early next year.
Rani is the only earning member of her family of four including her mother and two daughters, one of whom is married. Naturally, the sustenance of her family came before her studies.
After nearly three decades, her daughters popped the idea of three of them appearing for board examinations.
“My elder sister Rajashree had her studies discontinued in 2015 as well. The two of us cleared our madhyamik in 2020. After we made up our minds to appear for higher secondary exams together, we decided to rope in our mother as well,” Joyshree Das, Rani’s youngest daughter, told indianexpress.com.
Joyshree passed with 65.6 per cent marks and Rajashree with 50 per cent. Their mother scored 43 per cent.
Recounting her journey back to studies, Rani said, “It was very exciting to come back to studies. It was not really that hard since I used to stay up at night with my daughters when they studied. Perhaps all those years of hearing them read their lessons paid off.”
Asked if she would try to take the higher secondary examination and pursue further higher studies, Rani said, “Let’s see. Nothing is decided yet but who knows!”
A neighbour said Rani’s success had been an inspiration and that many people were coming inquiring about her since the results were announced.
The board announced its madhyamik and higher secondary examination results on Wednesday with 86.18 per cent and 94.46 per cent pass percentages respectively.
The results were based on the cumulative results of first- and second-term examinations. Term-II madhyamik examinations were held from April 18 to May 6 while term-II higher secondary examinations were held from May 5 to June 1. Term-I examinations were held in December last year.