A G Diwadkar, who created a buzz in Ratnagiri when he topped the matriculation exam in the state with 89.6% in 1956, cannot understand why succeeding at board exams is such a big deal. "It is hard to believe, but we lived rather simply. We studied hard but ranks and percentages were rather incidental," says Diwadkar, 72. Studying at the Paranjpe High School, a century old school in Ratnagiri, Diwadkar would wake up before dawn to study Sanskrit.
Solving riders in geometry, his favourite subject, was a pastime he found refreshing. Diwadkar says students then worked hard to understand all the scientific concepts and solved papers as part of preparing for board exams and to avoid panic at the time of the actual examination.
"We had to study under the light of kerosene lamps. We did not get exposure today's children get, but there were also no distractions in the form of TVs, radios and phones," Diwadkar says.
Passionate about mathematics and physics, he went on to graduate as a structural civil engineer from the Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute in Matunga and has lived in Mumbai for more than four decades. During the course of his studies, he also learnt French and worked in Paris for a couple of years. He lives with his wife in Andheri.