A thatched hut barely 20’x10′ in Jaiprakash slum area  near gate no 256 on the railway track from Bhopal to Nagpur , near Betul has been gathering dust and braving the vagaries of weather for many years.No one could imagine that this lonely hut would become a much frequented place on 21 May 2013.The reason- Poonam has spent the formative years of her life in this hut.Sixteen years old Poonam Ghore is the star of the day ,as she has topped the merit list of MP Board Class X examination,securing 587 out of 600 marks.Needless to say that she was competing with students from well to do families.

Poonam displayed rare powers of concentration ,when she managed to study midst the screeching sounds of passing trains, numbering about 140 daily.Besides these a large number of vehicles pass on the nearby highway ,adding to the noise and air pollution.Even then she managed to study 6-7 hours daily ,notwithstanding the power cuts and inclement weather.

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                        Her father, Ganpati  Ghore, faced kidney failure few years ago due to which he is unable to earn money. Considering the condition of Ganpati , her mother Pramila Ghore started working as domestic help. Pramila  later got the job of an assistant in Aanganwadi  and is now the sole  bread-winner of the family.How she manages the household in the meager Rs 4000 per month, is anybody’s guess.

                        Fortunately, a good samaritan came in her life. “Poonam was fond of painting since her childhood, and used to make several paintings at home. Once there was a painting competition in her school and the judge was the District  Superintendent of Police Lalit Shakyawar. “He was impressed with the painting made by Poonam and decided to adopt her. Since then, he donates Rs 1000 each month towards expenses ,” said her father.

                                 Viewing obstacles coming in the way of Poonam’s studies, her parents decided to send her in government girl’s hostel.Studying at the  Excellence School, Betul, she topped in all the examinations scoring above 90%.She was fascinated by the former Betul collector Sudha Chowdhary, and decided  to become  an IAS officer in future.

                             When Mr Jagdish Pawar ,reporter of Dainik Bhaskar reached the hut to break the news about Poonam’s crowning victory,Poonam’s father was dumbstruck-he did’t even have sugar to offer for such exciting news.It was Jagdish who sent the photographer to get some kaju katli to celebrate the occasion.

                        It was when she topped the class IX examination that she set the goal of topping the class X Board examination.Financial constraints prevented her from buying good books,copies and dresses.

                  When asked about her future plans she quipped, that she wants to do engineering from IIT and the go for IAS. She is so positively oriented that she never let any sad moment cling to her memory.If she were to relive the last 10 years,she would have prepared better and cleared the Navodaya Vidyalaya entrance test.

                       In her message to other students,she advised them not to look for luxuries like scooty,laptop,mobile etc but to focus on understanding the concepts ,rather than cramming.She gives the credit of her success to God,her parents and teachers.

(The above success story has been written by Maj Pradeep Khare,after interviewing Ms Poonam Ghore)