Agartala: Smriti Banik had a dream: to succeed in the Madhyamik (secondary) examination. She nurtured this wish for two decades -- even as she got married, raised a family and dealt with abject poverty. Today, she is smiling -- the long-cherished dream has come true.
Along with her teenaged daughter Sagarika, this 38-year-old housewife in Bishalgarh, about 30 kilometres from Tripura capital Agartala, cleared this year`s secondary examination by scoring 255 out of 700 marks. Sagarika too passed the test, scoring 238.
Both Smriti and Sagarika were enrolled in the Purba Laxmibill Higher Secondary School.
The mother-daughter duo had been preparing for the examination for weeks. They studied together, often through the nights. Smriti, who supplements the meagre family income --- her husband Jiban is a vegetable seller --- by running a tea stall, took some time off every day from the routine and household chores to study. It was not easy, but Smriti was clear in her mind: there`s no alternative but to pass the examination.
With sheer grit and courage she marched ahead to take the test and finally cleared it.
"When I was three years old, my father died. We were four sisters. My mother had to struggle through poverty and worked at the homes of our neighbours," Smriti told IANS.
"Despite my keenness, I had to drop out of the school when I got married in 1996 at the age of 18," she recounted.
"For the past 20 years, I wanted to take the Madhyamik examination, but poverty came in the way," Smriti said.
Smriti`s husband, daughter Sagarika and their neighbours have been quite supportive. They encouraged her to shrug off all hesitation and take the examination this year.
"Even though the syllabus has changed since I stopped my studies 20 years ago, I managed to prepare myself with my daughter`s help," Smriti said with a smile.
She now plans to get herself admitted in Class Eleven at the Purba Laxmibill Higher Secondary School and would like to be at least a graduate.
When asked, she said that her long-term ambition is to be a post-graduate, though her primary aim is to help her daughters to successfully clear the post-graduation.
But Smriti is not the only one in Tripura.
This year, three other mothers -- Rubi Ghosh, Purnima Das and Sanchita Datta -- have also cleared the board examination along with their son and daughters.
Thirty-five-year-old Rubi, who belongs to Kamalpur in northern Tripura, passed the Madhyamik along with her son Biprajit.