CHENNAI: Reaching into his bag, GV Vinoth Kumar pulls out his 19 certificates from school and college, exuding pride. He spreads them out on the table. Each commends the 21-year-old for perfect attendance.
For the last 17 years, Vinoth has not missed a single day of school or college. Be it sickness or stormy weather, Vinoth has been determined to attend school and college, in order to set a record with the India Book of Records and Guinness Book of Records.
“After completing class 12, my school gave me a certificate for perfect attendance all through my schooling at Kalaimagal Vidyalaya Matriculation Higher Secondary School. That was when I got the idea to set a record because the current record is only 14 years, which is from LKG to class 12. I have completed three years of undergraduate without missing a class. It puts my current record at 17 years,” he says. He hopes to complete 19 years of perfect attendance.
The journey was not easy for the MCA student at Measi Institute of Information and Technology. “My parents motivated me a lot. They were the ones who told me that I should go to school every day. My father, who is also a teacher, used to drop me at school every day,” says Vinoth. But the situation became tricky when he was completing his undergraduate course in Computer Science at Hindustan College of Arts and Sciences. “I live in Royapuram. From there to Padur takes two and a half hours each way. I used to reach home at 7.30 pm every day. I took the bus for the first two years, and went on my bike during my third year,” he says.
In his third year of college, one day, Vinoth recorded a temperature of 102 degrees, but still drove to college and back. In 2015 and 2016, when the floods and Vardah cyclone hit the city, Vinoth remained focused on his goal, and still went to college every day until it was shut down, and was often the only student in his class. “Years of work isn’t worth being broken by just one day. Everyone accomplishes something in their lifetime. I wanted to accomplish something unique, and so I decided that I will set this record,” he says.
Of course, such dedication comes with a price. “I feel bad when my friends go on trips without me and come back with great stories. Once, they went to a forest near Thiruporur and cooked food out there. They made chicken 65, prawn 65, parotta and curry. However, they went again with me on an off day,” says Vinoth, smiling. He admits that although missing this quintessential part of college life is difficult, he keeps strong through the support of his friends and teachers, head of departments and principals.
Vinoth hopes to clear the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission exam and feels that his dedication towards the award will translate into an admirable work ethic.