Variety

A tragic backdrop to a success story

Murali Gopalan Mumbai | Updated on January 25, 2013 Published on January 25, 2013




This is a story of two young women who dreamt of making it big in life. They grew up in extremely difficult conditions but had supportive parents who were as keen to see their children realise their dreams.

This week saw one of them top the difficult Chartered Accountancy exams and hit the headlines almost immediately. She has been flooded with job offers since then, along with generous cash awards from a host of well-wishers across the country.

The other young lady did as well with 73 per cent in her physiotherapy exam. Media reports have quoted her department head term this an “excellent” performance, adding that this performance would have meant a rank among the top three in her institute.

The similarities end here. Prema Jayakumar is well on her way, and deservedly so, to a bright corporate career in finance. The other girl, however, is not around to celebrate the occasion with her near and dear ones. Tragically, she died some weeks ago after being brutally raped in Delhi. Nobody knows her name yet, though the media did its bit alternating between “Damini” and “Nirbhaya.”

Prema grew up in Mumbai. Her father made his money ferrying passengers in his trusty auto-rickshaw. The family lived in a modest 250 sq. ft place in the suburbs. It was tough going but this did not deter Prema from pulling out all stops to crack the CA exam.

The joyous girl says her parents played a big role in this incredible journey which will see their fortunes go through a rapid makeover in the coming months. Don’t be surprised if our Bollywood filmmakers adapt Prema’s story for the big screen. It will be yet another tribute to Maximum City and its never-say-die spirit.

The Delhi girl’s story is no different. Her father struggled to support the family with his meagre income but was still determined to carve out a better future for his children. The girl, according to media reports, also did her bit by conducting tuition for children in the neighbourhood. The idea was to generate extra income and reduce the burden on her father.

Who would have thought that all this would end so horribly in a Delhi bus? Like Prema thousands of kilometres away, this young lady was on track to carving out a promising career for herself, which would have seen her family step into a more comfortable life. It was just a cruel twist of fate that the script went completely awry and left the entire country shell-shocked.

Two young ladies with similar backgrounds and absolutely determined to succeed in this incredibly competitive system. They reflect the aspirations of many other women in a new, vibrant India who are as keen on making it to the big league. Nobody has the right to deny them this access to a brighter future. Prema deserves kudos for her incredible success. We can only pray for the unfortunate Delhi girl whose path was so tragically derailed.

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Published on January 25, 2013
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