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Reaching the top despite odds

Making it to the top braving odds

india Updated: Jun 11, 2006 02:03 IST

J Sonal suffers from sunburn even on cloudy days and has low vision. This is because he suffers from albinism, characterised by the absence of pigment in his eyes, skin and hair. The nagging condition, however, did not prevent him from bagging the 10th rank in the state in the plus two arts exams conducted by the Council for Higher Secondary Education (CHSE).

Said a visibly elated Asim K. Jena, father of Sonal: “If my son reads for more than half-an-hour at a stretch, tears well up in his eyes. He reads for an hour every day normally but increased this to three hours with difficulty during the examination phase. That was sufficient for Sonal to come out with flying colours. He did not have tuition.”

Albinism is a genetic disorder that can affect only the eyes (ocular albinism) or both the eyes and skin (oculocutaneous albinism). Sonal suffers from the second type and had been examined at the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute at Hyderabad. “But there is no cure to albinism at present," says Asim.

During his school days, Sonal always stood first in his class and scored high marks in science subjects. But in plus two, he was forced to go for arts since practical experiments in physics, chemistry and electronics would have put a strain on his eyes. The physical challenges also forced him to pursue his studies at Balasore rather than join the more reputed institutes in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.

Sonal has a dream now: To make it to the IAS or IFS.