She is only three feet tall and suffers from achondroplasia, the most common form of short stature with disproportionately short limbs (that is, dwarfism with short arms and legs). The medical condition that makes life’s smallest tasks difficult for her. But Piyasha Mahaldar (19), a resident of Nadia’s Shantipur town, has always dreamt big and never allowed either her height or her condition to dictate terms to her. On Monday, this feisty teenager appeared for her higher secondary (HS) examination.
Special arrangements were made for her and she lay on a table in a separate room at Shantipur Oriental Academy — her exam centre — and answered her Bengali paper. Piyasha can’t sit up or walk, so she writes in a reclining position. In fact, her mother or a family member carries her everywhere, including the exam centre. The HS council has granted her an extra hour to answer her papers.
Though her parents initially faced problems admitting her in school, she was finally accepted at Shantipur Amratala Primary School. Since then, she has never looked back. A whole new world opened up for her after she joined school as she discovered the joy of reading.
Piyasha completed her Madhyamik from Shantipur’s Radharani Nari Siksha Mandir with 523 marks, just 2 marks short of 75%. Then, too, she had given the exam lying on a table. She needs her mother or a family member’s assistance while taking a bath or relieving herself. She has to do everything lying down.
Luckily for Piyasha, her mother Supriya is a pillar of strength. As a result, the mother-daughter have a special bond. Understandably, her journey has not been easy but she overcame each hurdle with a smile. In class 12, her classroom was on the first floor, so Supriya had to carry her there. But Piyasha agrees that her teachers were full of empathy and her classmates supportive. When asked about Monday’s exam (Bengali), she was confident she had done well. Though English is not her favourite subject, she hopes to fare well in it too.