Never-say-die peon clears SSC at 44th try
Mateen Hafeez | TNN Jan. 20, 2010
Mumbai: A peon with the Mumbai railway commissionerate has a lesson or two for those citizens for whom one failure is enough to push them over the brink. Prakash Karekar, who is 50 years old and has completed 29 years of life as a peon, has passed his Class X examination in—believe it or not — his 44th attempt, and knows much more about failure, he says, than any other Mumbaikar.
“Look at me. The first time I appeared for the examination was in 1977 and I finally passed it in 2003,’’ Karekar told TOI on Tuesday. The eternal optimist, who now has his sights set on a promotion and a new life as a clerk, could serve as a role model for suicidal youngsters whose ranks are growing alarmingly. In the last three months, over a hundred students have committed suicide across Maharashtra, prompting much soul-searching among worried parents,academics, psychiatrists and even the state government. The Maharashtra police has already formed a 15-member team to probe the reasons for the spurt in suicides and suggest preventive measures.
Karekar, currently working for a monthly salary of Rs 14,000, said he had a simple formula that helped him pull through all the years of ignominy. “I was never worried and never felt insulted despite failing the exam without fail. I only knew that I had to fight again and again till I succeeded,’’ he said. “I got a job as a peon on the basis of my Class IX marksheet. But I wanted to become a clerk and knew that somehow I had to do my Class X and so did not give up.’’
The peon’s journey to an SSC certificate is illuminating. He failed in all six subjects in 1977. The first subject he passed was Marathi, after which he gradually conquered Hindi, science and English. Mathematics proved the toughest nut to crack. “But I never lost hope,’’ he said.