Mysuru: The 98th convocationceremony of the University of Mysore (UoM) was dominated by girls from rural areas in the Old Mysuru region. It was a most memorable day for Shambhavi CN, who hails from an agrarian family in Chikabagilu, Mandya district, who took home a whopping 13 gold medals, besides four cash prizes for her accomplishments in MSc (chemistry). Meanwhile, Manasa DP of T Narasipura, who completed her BSc at the varsity, bagged seven gold medals, and nine cash prizes and Vanaja KG, a native of Kagalwadi near Chamarajanagar, emerged the topper in the MA (Kannada) course – her bag tinkled with eight gold medals, and bulged with four cash prizes.
Shambhavi’s parents – CS Nagaraju, and his wife, Rajamma – are no strangers to seeing their children wearing veritable garlands of medals. While Shambhavi’s brother Suresha CN, currently pursuing MA (economics) at UoM won a gold medal in political science at St. Joseph’s College in Bengaluru, her sister Pallavi CN, a student of BE (electronics and communication) at the National Institute of Engineering, Mysuru, has also bagged a gold medal for highest aggregate score in her stream.
Nagaraju completed his SSLC, and Rajamma could read only till class V, but the couple allowed their kids to follow their passion and that has made all the difference. “We never asked our children to pursue one course over another. We asked them to pursue whatever they were interested in. Since we have not studied much, we had no idea on the various courses and their scope. We decided to support their choices,” said Nagaraju.
Shambhavi, who is now keen on pursuing a PhD, was very close to becoming an engineer before fate intervened and altered the course of her career. “When I was scheduled to attend CET counseling, I met with an accident,” said Shambhavi, who was visibly elated and could not find words to express her joy. “I want to do my PhD at either IIT or IISc, and then return to my village and teach the kids there science,” she added.
Vanaja, who took home the gold medal for MA(Kannada), managed to overcome several problems in life to reach the summit. The magnitude of Vanaja’s accomplishment is set in stark relief by the fact that her family largely subsists on her father’s meager pension. “My father, M Guruswamy retired from the sericulture department as a Group D worker. We do not have a piece of land for agriculture. All we have is a house and my father’s pension to support the family,” said Vanaja, who has done her family proud by becoming its first graduate. “My uncle N Renuka has had a huge role to play in my achievement,” she said.
On the other hand, Manasa and her family had to shift from T Narasipura to Mysuru, so her dreams could take flight. After she completed her SSLC at St Mary’s Convent at T Narasipura, her family shifted to Mysuru. After she completed undergraduation at Teresian College affiliated to UoM in the city, she subsequently pursued her masters at UoM. “I intend to pursue my PhD, and take up teaching,” said Manasa.