New Delhi/Gurugram, May 29 (IANS) For Anushka Panda who is unable to walk without a wheelchair, it was not the fear of under-performing in her Class 10 exams — which she ended up topping in her category — that occupied her mind, her concern was to finish the paper in the prescribed time of three hours, because the prospect of using the extra time she was legally entitled to was something she hated.
Panda, a student of Suncity School in Gurugram topped the Class 10 CBSE Board Examination — declared on Tuesday — in the differently-abled category in India scoring 97.8 per cent marks.
Talking to IANS, she said: “I was just under one kind of stress, I didn’t want to take extra time. I wanted to write the paper within those three hours. I didn’t take extra time for any of the papers and I am proud of that.”
A resident of Sector 67 of Gurugram, Panda said her “mantra” for topping the papers was being “consistent” throughout and studying for three-four hours a day. The only time she “broke down” was while preparing for the social science paper.
“I broke down because there was so much syllabus, but never because I was under stress. Social science had lot of chapters,” said the topper who wants to become a software engineer and aiming for IITs already.
Fourteen-year-old Panda suffers from spinal muscular atrophy. It is a genetic disease that diminishes the sufferer’s physical strength by affecting the motor nerve cells in the spinal cord, which consequently impacts mobility.
But being wheelchair-bound did not hinder her from fighting her way to acing the exams.
“The disability always tried to hamper my performance, but I didn’t let it do so. It was going to but I didn’t allow it,” she said.
Among the downside of the condition she suffers from and yet has triumphed are her inability to walk and the need to take frequent breaks.
“I can’t walk and had to take breaks frequently, which is not good. But then I studied harder to overcome that,” she said.
Asked what she did to bust the exam stress, she said: “I played video games to bust the stress, including the ones which are violent. But I like arcade games also.”
Her school Principal Rupa Chakravarty said: “We, at Suncity School, are very proud of Anushka.
“The focus that she possesses is rare to find in other children. She is determined and does not allow any obstacle to overpower her, and her benchmarks are very high. She is an inspiration for all of us. What she has achieved many other students would not be able to achieve with all the elements.”
Her parents were equally proud of their daughter’s success.
“I am proud of my daughter. Her excellent performance in the board examination is a testimony to her determination and perseverance,” said her father Anup Kumar Panda.
(Vishal Narayan can be reached at [email protected])