Soma Patnaik has done it again. The Class XII student from DAV Public School, Gurgaon, has scored 90.40 per cent marks. She notched up these marks despite being left with only 1 per cent vision in her eyes. A brilliant student, Soma had scored 92.6 per cent marks in her Class X examinations in 2006. She now dreams of finding a place in a good Delhi University college and ultimately make her way to the Indian Administrative Services.
Soma suffers from Retinitis Pigmentosa, a disorder that ultimately causes complete visual impairment, from birth. “I want to read political science or English from a good DU college. If I get admission in Lady Shri Ram College, I can also apply for a hostel seat. Otherwise I will have to settle for a Gurgaon college given the difficult commute,” Soma told HT.
Her impairment, however, has not been a deterrent to academic success. For her Class XII exams, Soma was allowed to use the assistance of an amanuensis. But she wrote the papers herself. “My vision level is almost at par with a blind person, but I used her (amanuensis) only for reading the question paper. And I had asked the school authorities for a well-lit place in the examination hall. Nothing else,” Soma said.
Soma’s journey so far has not been simple. She cannot see the blackboard inside her classroom, cannot cross the road by herself and reading books requires a lot of effort. “I know that I am heading towards 100 per cent blindness gradually, but I am mentally prepared and have decided on my future course. Earlier, I was learning Braille, but now I use programmes like JAWS that read out the content of the soft copies of textbooks that I have downloaded from the Internet,” she explained.
Soma has scored 452 marks out of 500 with 94 in political science and home science, each, 93 in psychology, 89 in economics and 89 in English. The CBSE declared its Class XII results for its Panchkula, Chennai and Ajmer regions on Wednesday.