CHENNAI: Devadharshini S, daughter of a fisherman from Kovalam, had her mind set on exactly what she wanted to do after school. Her ‘average’ score notwithstanding, she wrote an email, long and impassioned, to the Principal of MOP Vaishnav College for women. A week later, she was in.
“It is the happiest moment I’ve ever been in since the time my wedding plans were dropped when I was still in Class XII,” she said.
A first-generation graduate, the 18-year-old had applied for Journalism, Computer Science and Maths in the women’s college, which she said she had her heart set on right from school. “They said I would receive an SMS in case I was selected. I had scored only 817 and I knew it was difficult. But, I was tired of waiting and decided to email the principal.”
Impressed with her passion, she was called for an interview and offered the sociology course, which she readily accepted. “She had emailed the college first. She then somehow caught hold of my personal email ID and wrote to me describing her family’s struggles and her passion to study here,” said Lalitha Balakrishnan, Principal of MOP Vaishnav College for Women, adding that the college would pay a substantial part of her course fee.
Devadharshani’s determination to succeed, she said, stemmed from the fear of seeing her father, Sugumar K, going to sea on rough days.
“It has been so many years; but still whenever he goes to sea when it is a little rough, my mother and I wait with bated breath until he gets home,” she said, adding that given a chance, she would rather have her father, who makes about Rs 6,000 a month, stop working.
Her mother, Subha S, agrees.
“It would be useful for her father if she can contribute even a little to household expenses. I had initially thought it was best to get her married, but now I would rather have her study whatever she wants to,” said Subha.
Devadharshini wants to finish the course and prepare for civil services. “If it doesn’t work out, I’ll do postgraduation in social work and find a job after that.”