'No one forced me to study, but I always wanted to see my mother happy.'
ISC Class 12 topper Abhijnan Chakraborty tells us how he did it.
In 2016, when Abhijnan Chakraborty moved to Malad, north west Mumbai, from Kolkata with his family, he never imagined how life would change for him.
"I was new to the school. I missed Kolkata. It took me time to cope up and make friends," the 17 year old who topped the Indian School Certificate Class 12 examination conducted by the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination tells Rediff.com's Divya Nair over the phone.
Abhijnan, a student of the Lilavatibai Podar High School in Santa Cruz, north west Mumbai, scored an aggregate of 99.5 per cent in the ISC Class 12 examination results announced on May 14.
Abhijnan, who grades himself as an "above average" student, credits his teachers at school for helping him. "They were always ready to solve your doubts. They provided worksheets which helped me prepare better."
But he mostly appreciates his mother Ananya Chakraborty for inspiring him to study well and succeed.
"My mother and grandfather have really helped my sister and me to study well. My mother works really hard. She inspires me," says Abhijnan.
"Our phones have been ringing all through last evening. We slept really late last night. I still cannot digest the fact that he actually did it. I am really happy and proud of him," says Abhijnan's mother, Ananya Chakraborty, who works as national head of an institutional marketing firm.
"I really miss my sister. She went to the UK to study. When we spoke, she was in tears. I wish she was here to share this moment," says Abhijnan.
Sharing his study schedule, Abhijnan says, "No one forced me to study, but I always wanted to see my mother happy. I planned my schedule in Class 11. I am a huge Game Of Thrones fan. I love watching movies, but I stopped watching TV to focus on the board exam.
"During school days, I'd study for four to five hours. On weekends, I'd study for at least six hours. Around December last year, I started attempting mock papers. I never imagined I'd top. I think I just outdid myself."
Ananya wants the best for her kids.
"My chhote mamaji, whom he (Abhijnan) calls grandfather has helped us. He's a retired major... Major Ashok Chakraborty. I wanted my son to join the NDA (the National Defence Academy), but I guess he has different plans," she says.
"Whatever he chooses, all I want for him is to be disciplined and a good human being," Ananya adds.
Abhijnan, too, dreamt of joining the NDA and becoming a pilot. Now, though, he decided to pursue chemistry.
"My eye sight is -6.5 and, to be eligible for the NDA, your sight shouldn't be beyond -3.5. So the NDA was out of question. My great-grandfather, I learned, was a great scientist. He was also a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry. I'd like to take that legacy forward."
Currently, Abhijnan, who likes organic chemistry, is looking to apply to the universities in the UK, Germany and Switzerland.
"If I get into a good university in the UK, I'll be closer to my sister," he says.