He Wrote with His Feet and Scored a High 71%
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18 June 2010
By Anahita Mukherji
In possibly a first for the SSC, Rajesh Laxman, a boy with no arms, wrote the exams with his feet–and scored 71%. Eleven years ago, Rajesh was rescued from the streets of Mumbai by Support, an NGO that works towards the rehabilitation of streetkids.
When Sujata Ganega, director of Support, first met him as a seven–year–old on the streets, she found him smoking cigarettes. It was she who told him firnly that if he could hold a cigarette with his toes, he could do the same with a pencil. At Support, with the help of the staff Rajesh learned how to write with his feet. Peeking through his school textbooks, TOI found his writing flawless. Rajesh is over the moon with his SSC score. He said he was going to have a “dhamaakedaar” celebration. His advice for other handicapped children who may give up on studies is simple: “Himmat se padho aur aage badho (Don’t lose hope, study hard and go ahead in life).”
In addition to Support, Rajesh also owes his success to the Vakola municipal school for granting him admission, as well as the Chhatrapati Shivaji School from where he passed the board exam. “For us, this is the reward for the work we do. This is what gives us the inspiration to continue,” said Hoshang Irani, trustee of Support. “It’s absolutely amazing to see Rajesh doing geometry holding the instruments with his toes. It’s also something we tend to take for granted, as we have been watching him do so for a decade,” he added.
Rajesh’s tale is a success in more ways than one. He enjoys a regular life in every respect, and even plays cricket with his friends. He bowls with his legs, and uses one leg as a bat.
While Rajesh has little recollection of life on the streets, he had earlier told the staff at Support that he lost his arms after he received an electric shock while holding on to an electric pole.