Life changed overnight for Shivani Prajapat, 17, daughter of a rickshaw-puller, who clinched the sixth place on the state’s merit list of Class 12 (Arts) exam.
Satish Singh, the principal of Rajasthan Academy Senior Secondary School, called up Shivani to congratulate her after the results were declared on Saturday evening, and it wasn’t long before journalists and photographers thronged her small rented house in Alwar’s NIA Colony.
“My principal only told me that I scored 88% in political science and that I was sixth in the state merit list,” said Shivani, who didn’t know her subject-wise marks until Sunday evening. “I thought I’d score more in drawing,” she said when she heard she got 94% in the subject.
She scored an impressive 468 out of 500, or 93.6%, but is dissatisfied. She said she had typhoid during exams and was very sick on the day of the political science exam. “It’s my favourite subject and I had studied well,” she said.
Her illness or a frugal life never prevented her from dreaming big.
Shivani lives in a 12-by-9-foot room with her parents, two siblings and a cousin. Her mother, Santara Devi, does odd stitching jobs to supplement the family’s income.
“My father earns around Rs 5,000 a month and pays Rs 2,500 as house rent. We are very poor but my school supported me in studies,” she said.
“We don’t take fees from them and provide them books free of cost,” said Singh, adding that it was the school’s policy to support poor students.
Supported by her father, Tejram Prajapat, and her school, Shivani now dreams of one day becoming an IAS officer.
“I want to become an IAS officer so that my parents don’t have to work in their old age,” she said.
Shivani’s younger brother, Vishesh, is awaiting his Class 10 results, and the youngest, Gyandeep, is in Class 8. Singh said he expected them to find a place on the merit list as well.