Both her parents had died of COVID just as her 10th CBSE Board examinations were around the corner. But, Bhopal school student, Vanisha Pathak, showed grit and an iron-will to stay true to her parents’ last encouraging words and managed to score the perfect 100 in English, Sanskrit, Science and Social Science and a 97 in Mathematics.
Her brilliant academic performance was Pathak’s offering to the memory of her dead parents because she so wanted to “be the reason for their pride”, as she wrote in a poem dedicated to them.
In May, with the board exams just around the corner, teenager Pathak’s life was completely shattered when both her parents died in hospital within days of each other, said an NDTV report.
All of a sudden, the 16-year-old girl found she and her 10-year-old brother, Vivan alone in the world. Awash with grief, she however rallied around as it slowly dawned on her that she was the only family her brother had.
Pathak told NDTV that it was the memory of her dead parents that kept her motivated and the fact that she was responsible for her brother. “He (the brother) is the biggest source of motivation right now… I am all he has and that keeps me going. I need to do something,” she added choking back her tears.
Her father Jeetendra Kumar Pathak was a financial advisor, while her mother, Dr Seema Pathak was a teacher at a government school. Before her mother passed away, she had told her ‘just believe in yourself…we will be back soon’, while her father had advised her ‘beta, himmat rakhna’ (stay strong, my child), recounted Pathak.
They had been admitted to the hospital together and that was the last she had seen of them. The children now live with their maternal uncle, Dr Ashok Kumar, a professor at a Bhopal college and aunt, Dr Bhavna Sharma, who describe Pathak as a “fighter”.
Pathak’s world had come crashing down around her but she did not wallow in her grief but decided to concentrate on her studies. She was motivated by the fact that her father had wanted her to join an IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) or crack the UPSC and serve the nation.
“His dream is my dream now,” Pathak told NDTV, as she strove for composure.
The teenager has also penned a poem, ‘I’ll be a strong girl, daddy, without you’, in the memory of her dead parents, the excerpts of which are given below:
“With a heavy heart, I bid you goodbye
For you left me all alone to cry.
Now every tear fetches a memory of yours,
But I hold it back and don’t let it flow…
… won’t let pain overpower me,
and I’ll stand tall.
… I’ll be the reason for your pride,
with a hope to see you again someday
when we all, with no worries, will make hay…