Nagpur: On Friday, when Archana Nirgulwar came to know that her daughter Gauri has scored 83.80% in SSC, her struggles of last 18 years disappeared, at least momentarily. A bus conductor with the state transport department in the Naxalite-infested Gadchiroli district, Archana’s life has been a bumpy road throughout, starting with her marriage in 2000 to a mentally unstable man, a medical condition she was not aware of.
Though she felt that time would solve all problems in the natural course, she realized later that a bigger challenge lay ahead. Archana recalled, “In 2003, a year after my daughter was born, I found out that there was something wrong.” Gauri had rickets, a disease that causes softening and weakening of bones in children, usually due to inadequate Vitamin D.
Now all of 16, Gauri stands just three feet tall and can barely walk for a few feet. Her medical condition meant she was unable to write as well due to which a writer was provided by the state board.
Though Gauri was unavailable on the phone, her mother shared the brave girl’s story with TOI. “Unfortunately, some relatives started passing comments about Gauri in front of her due to which she used to get depressed. She would cry saying she’s of no use to anyone and more of a burden. But I always helped her out of the negative thoughts by telling her to focus on the positive aspects in life. Like the fact that she has access to education and a bright future awaits her if she does well,” said Archana.
Gauri studied at Vidya Bharti Kanya Vidyalaya, about a kilometre from her house, where fortunately she was taken care of very well. Archana said, “The principal, teachers and students were extremely nice to her and never ever did she complain about being teased or treated unfairly. Some teachers went out of their way to help her in studies and I am proud that she has performed to that level.”
With Archana being a bus conductor, her duty kept her away from Gadchiroli for hours, so she hired a rickshaw puller to ferry Gauri to school. “The rickshaw would stop almost at her classroom’s door, such was the level of treatment Gauri was given,” said Archana.
But Gauri isn’t resting on her laurels yet and has her sights set on her dream. “She wants to be an IAS officer and hopefully work in Gadchiroli,” the proud mother summed it up.
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