On Tuesday, when 43-year-old Sarita Zagade entered her SSC exam centre in Dadar, Mumbai, she attracted attention from both, students and the invigilator. But that did not make Sarita, who is taking her first ever board examination, nervous. “Everyone seemed to be looking at me and I realised that they weren’t used to older people in the exam hall, but I had to concentrate on writing my exam,” said Sarita, in a report by The Times Of India. Sarita is taking the SSC examination, along with her 16-year-old daughter Shrutika. Also giving them company is her elder daughter, Kshitija, who is appearing for the HSC examination.
Sarita had to discontinue her education after class IV. “Due to financial restraints, I had to drop out of school. I got married, had two daughters and soon got busy with family life,” she said. Three years ago, she joined a night school in class VIII. Sarita credits her husband, Vishwanath, for motivating her to continue education. “Initially, I was very scared to go back to school after almost 35 years, but my husband pushed me to do it. I thought of giving it a shot and told him I would continue only if I liked it. Within just a few days, I began loving it,” she said.
The mother and daughters have been studying together for the past few months. “My mother and sister have been studying together since class VIII since most of the subjects are same. I have joined them in the past few months. We are studying and juggling household chores,” said Kshitija, a student of Shardashram Vidyamandir, Dadar. All of them are taking the examination at different centres. “When my elder daughter has her exam, I drop her to the centre. On SSC exam days, I will drop my wife to her exam centre and my elder daughter will escort her sibling to the centre,” said Vishwanath.
The mother and daughters are confident of excelling in their exams. “My daughters and my family has been extremely supportive of me and so I am able to give my best. We won’t disappoint each other,” said Sarita.