It seems luck is still not ready to smile on 74-year-old Shiv Charan, who has been appearing in the Class 10 board examinations for the last 38 years. He has failed once again, marring his chances of getting married!
The results of the Rajasthan board's secondary examination announced on Tuesday evening shattered the dream of the septuagenarian, lovingly called Pappu, to get married only after clearing the test.
Also known as Sheojiram, he lives in Kohari village near Behror town, over 140 km from state capital Jaipur. In the early years of his life, he vowed to marry only after getting through his Class 10 exam.
He has consistently failed and this year was no different. But he is not giving up hope.
"Till the time I am alive I will go on giving examinations in order to get a wife," Shiv Charan told IANS.
This time he was not able to pass in any subject other than Hindi. He scored 34 in Hindi, 14 in English, 17 in science, 5 in mathematics and 25 in Sanskrit. But he blames mathematics for his poor performance.
"Though this time I failed in almost all the subjects except Hindi, it's the mathematics paper that always drags me down," he said.
Having failed in the Rajasthan board, he was asked whether he would like to appear in the Open School boards, but replied: Pran jaye par vachan na jaye (better to die than go back on your word).
"It is not in my nature to change. I will fulfil my commitment and continue taking the board examinations till I pass it," he said. "For me, success is not merely about clearing the examinations. It will also throw open the doors of marriage," he said.
Shiv Charan took his first board exams in 1969 and since then clearing it has been the only goal of his life.
He has no regrets about the odd situation he faces every year in the examination halls.
"Sometimes invigilators throw me out of the examination halls on the pretext that I am the guardian of a student. Whenever I go to the exam centre, people converge in hordes to see me," he said.
When asked which girl he would like to marry, if he clears the examination next year, Shiv Charan said: "Only a girl below 30 will be my wife."
He is a little hard of hearing and age has slowed him down. While he is too weak to continue farming, he has enough stamina to take another exam.
A die-hard optimist, Shiv Charan has already started preparing for next year's examination. May be the 39th time, the villagers will get wait to hear. "Aur Pappu pass ho gaya!"
Said Ramprasad, a neighbour: "We really want him to pass the examination. God has tested him a lot, now luck should smile on him."