One is a waiter, while the other works as a salesman. But, despite their straitened circumstances, Amar Sunil Shinde and Vitthal Bandhu Deshmukh have dedicated their evenings to finishing their studies, at a night school. Their hard work finally paid off when the HSC exam results were declared on Tuesday, and Shinde and Deshmukh scored 80 per cent and 79.38 per cent marks, respectively.
The two topped the Poona Night School and Jr College of Saraswati Mandir Sanstha, where they were studying.
Coming from weaker financial backgrounds, their distinction-grade scores are a testimony to their grit and willpower.
Amar Shinde (18), who scored 521 out of 650 marks, has earned the sobriquet of a ‘topper’ for the first time in his academic life. He works as a salesman at Tulsibaug’s Star Jewellers.
Born in a farmer’s family from Ghisar village in Pune’s Velhe taluka, Amar was in the sixth grade when the financial situation at home became particularly difficult and his uncle decided to bring him to the city.
“However, after finishing Class X, I decided that I would have to take up a job. I started working to support my parents, as the situation back home had become quite strained. Farming wasn’t enough for sustenance and my parents needed money. So, I took admission in the night college and started working simultaneously. From 10 am to 6 pm, I did my job and from 6.30 pm to 9.30 pm, I attended the night college,”said Amar, who aspires to be a chartered accountant.
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“Initially, it was a little tough, spending my entire day at work and then studying till late in the night. Sometimes, I would be too tired to study, but I pushed myself, thinking that these tough times will go away soon,” he added.
Earning a salary of Rs 6,000 per month, he gives half of the money to his parents. “My parents are simple rice farmers, they don’t understand things like chartered accountancy, they are just happy to know I have passed my board examinations,” he said.
Vitthal Bandhu Deshmukh, another student who stood second in his college with 79.47 per cent marks, joined the night college while he was studying in Class X.
A waiter at J M Road’s Panchali Hotel for the last three years, a job that he took up when he was in Class X, Vitthal also belongs to a farmer’s family from Jalna district. It was during his first board examination that he had come to Pune, to work as a waiter so he could support his family.
“I could not afford to get admission in other institutes here. I aspire to be an officer in the Indian Police Service,” said the teenager, admitting that his ideal is IPS officer Vishwas Nangre Patil, who became an IPS officer at the age of 25.
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“I want to set an example for students like me, who come from similar backgrounds. I want to tell them that one can do whatever one wants through education. I used to go to a library in Shivajinagar and the staffers there would motivate me a lot. They didn’t charge me any library fees. I earned a meagre salary, a majority of which went to my parents. This is the first step of success, I hope there are more,” he added.