Ranchi- the capital city of Jharkhand is located in the southern most part of the Chota Nagpur Plateau. From natural water falls, to dams, to temples, the city boasts of many attractions. The Dassam Falls, the Hundru Falls, the Jonha Falls, the Hirni falls and the Panchghagh falls are just a few of them. No wonder the city is known as the “City of Waterfalls”. And not to forget, the city is home to one of India’s greatest cricketers, Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
In this beautiful city, is young Shweta Mandal, a 27 year old girl the city is truly proud of. At the age of 25 years, Shweta topped the Ranchi University in her subject. Further to this she went on to clear the National Eligibility Test and is currently pursuing her MPhil in Sociology from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, in New Delhi.
So what is so special about Shweta Mandal’s achievements? Aren’t there many others who top universities and achieve great heights? But Shweta is special, she is different from the rest. Shweta is 100% visually impaired.
Where childhood days for many are filled with laughter, play and fun, at the tender age of six, a tumor was detected in Shweta’s brain. What followed were multiple trips to the hospital, surgeries and radiation procedures. Over the course of a few months, Shweta’s tumor was removed, getting her life back on track. But not for long. By the time she was fifteen occasional pains, headaches and vomiting became a part of her life. And before she realized, during her class 10, she had lost her eyesight, completely.
She was in a critical phase in her life. With dreams big and the impending board exams, life suddenly became difficult. For one, she had no idea about what Braille was. Reading and preparing for her exams now seemed to be an impossible task. But Shweta wasn’t deterred. With the help of her parents, who recorded the entire course material on a tape recorder, Shweta spent hours listening to it. And when it was time to give her exams, she narrated the answers to a school appointed writer, who filled them in the answer paper. Shweta scored a 72% in those board exams. It was no looking back after that.
She went on to go to college, to becoming a University topper. And at the 29th convocation of the Ranchi University at Morhabadi, Shweta was awarderded the gold medal. Truly she deserved it, along with the accolades.
It made me happy to read about Shweta and her achievements in the local newspaper*. Not often do journalists report news that isn’t a revenue generator for them . But for me news such as this are truly “Fantastico” and must be spoken about. They would serve as an inspiration for each one of us and could bring about a positive “impact” in our life. I am leaving behind a favourite quote of mine by Helen Keller.
“Keep Your Face to the Sunshine and You Cannot See a Shadow”- Helen Keller
Shweta just did that- Faced the Sunshine, ignored the Shadow.
*Source of news info: Times of India dated Jan 20, 2016