Auto-rickshaw driver's daughter braves all odds to top CA exam
The financial capital of the country, Mumbai, became witness to an inspiring story of a poor family braving all odds to make its children achieve the very pinnacle of academic achievement.
Prema Jayakumar, daughter of an auto-rickshaw driver, was declared the topper of a competitive examination of chartered accountancy (CA) when the results were declared on Wednesday (January 23), sparking off celebrations and a flurry of presents from relatives, friends and well-wishers.
Prema's brother Dhanraj also cleared the CA exam, the culmination of years of hard work and study in the family's cramped one-room tenement in Mumbai's Malad suburb.
Jayakumar Perumal, father of Prema, said on Thursday that his children's dedication inspired faith and that he had resolved never to let financial difficulties stand in the way of their education.
"We managed in any way we could. There was a small farm in our village, I sold that. I told the children not to worry and to concentrate on their studies. I did not let the lack of money stop them. Money will come tomorrow, if not today. But if the time meant for studies is lost, it never comes back," Perumal said.
The parents basked in the glory that their children had brought to their household, recounting how Prema and Dhanraj would study together from early morning to late at night.
"They used to wake up at six and the morning and stay awake until midnight. They used to work very hard. I would not sleep until they had slept as well. I used to help them in any way I could. Every few hours I would make sure they had eaten something," said their mother, Lingammal Jayakumar.
The topper, Prema, recounted how she had determined to crack the tough exam, talking about how she and her brother had made the best use of what little resources they had, studying together and helping each other out in the pursuit of their common objective.
"We used to study here itself. My brother used to sit at the table, while I would study on the floor. Whenever we would complete a topic, we would discuss it and make notes of the important points so that we could revise before the exams," Prema said.
Since they were studying for the same exam, the duo would manage with just one set of books shared between themselves.
Prema's brother, Dhanraj, said that while his sister's efforts convinced the family that she would rank among the very best, her top rank was a pleasant surprise. He rejoiced in her success, saying that Prema had brought to their family the pride they had hitherto seen only in the news.
Having qualified as an accountant, Prema aims to study further for a doctorate.