Disability never a constraint for these SSLC toppers

Padmavathi Raghunath Araddi Vantagodi

Padmavathi Raghunath Araddi Vantagodi has a disability that makes it tougher for her to sit down with her textbooks wide open even for an hour.

But dwarfism did not deter this teenager from soldiering on and securing 97.4% in the class 10 exams, results for which were declared on Monday. Her scores are indeed jaw-dropping: 100% in Kannada and 99% each in social science and Hindi.

“I can’t sit straight for too long,” Padmavathi said. “It would hurt me if I sit for a long time. But I didn’t want to focus on my pain but was too keen on my studies.”

Padmavathi, who rides to school on an autorickshaw, said she studied three to four hours on average. “I can’t lie down sideways since it would hurt my brittle bones,” she said.

A student from Ramadurga, Belagavi, Padmavathi recalled the days she would come home and describe her pain to her mother and grandmother, who motivated her to study saying she would pass and she should not worry. “It was a pleasant surprise that I ended up among the rank holders,” she said.

Her father Raghunatharaddi Vantagodi is himself stunted. Only three feet tall, Vantagodi was happy when Padmavathi won a competition for being the healthiest kid. But he realised she had the same disability after the girl turned one.

Hopes of a cure were dashed when doctors told him that dwarfism is genetically predisposed and has no remedy. But Padmavathi found able allies in her mother and sister, who helped her with daily chores.

“She’s interested to pursue science,” Vantagodi told DH. “She wants to pursue software engineering or civil services.”

Samrin Abdul Razaq Chapparband hails from Karwar in Uttara Kannada. Since birth, she had a heart ailment that would eventually lead to mental retardation, according to her father Abdul Razaq Chapparband.

But Samrin remained motivated to score 79.8 % in the class 10 exams. “Her memory fails too often. It’s a big challenge to overcome. But her hard work has borne fruits,” her father said.

Her family is awaiting further diagnosis by the doctors, who told them that her condition will be determined only after further assessment. Samrin kept a routine of studying between 8 pm and 10 pm, which eventually helped her score well.

A student of Government Junior College in Tarikere, Bhoomika K L has low vision due to hypermetropia. But she scored 79.8% in the exams. “She can’t see things at a distance. With spectacles, she could identify objects close by,” Bhoomika’s mother Jayasheela C S said.

Doctors at a nearby government hospital told her that Bhoomika must wear glasses to see. “My child has managed to score these marks with whatever coaching she had at school,” Jayasheela said.

There were also financial constraints for Bhoomika, as her father is a farmer and mother a housemaid. Bhoomika’s dreams of pursuing medicine would depend on the crop yield, her mother said. “We’ve had a lot of difficulties in the past and we won’t be able to pay for her higher studies,” her mother added.

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Disability never a constraint for these SSLC toppers

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