CHENNAI: It’s common for children to dream of becoming a doctor. But the path isn’t easy, and many end up choosing other destinations. K Sivaprakasam didn’t let his destinations derail his desires. The 61-year-old retired government school teacher from Dharmapuri took NEET last year, and was called for counselling on Friday. He will attend it along with one of his students.
“He will easily get a seat,” says Selection Committee secretary Dr P Vasanthamani. “There are 437 MBBS seats under the 7.5 per cent quota for government school students, and his rank in this category is 349.” A total of 719 candidates were invited for counselling on Friday.
However, Sivaprakasam, who scored 249 in NEET, probably won’t study medicine as his son, who’s doing his house surgency at the Kanyakumari Government Medical College, has advised him against it. “He asked if it would make sense that I take the seat and spoil a young government school student’s chances. After MBBS, I might only be able to serve for 10-15 years. But a young student can put in 40-50 years. My son has a point,” explains Sivaprakasam.
Nevertheless, he’s travelling from Dharmapuri to Chennai. “I’m coming for the counselling since I’m bringing one of my students for it. I’m still in two minds. As a retired government school teacher, I don’t want to feel guilty for depriving a student of an opportunity.”
‘Had dreamt of becoming doctor since childhood’
“If I skip the counselling, a youngster will take the seat and go home happy,” he says, adding that he will observe the counselling process so he can guide his students. Sivaprakasam had dreamt of becoming a doctor since childhood, but his low Pre University Course (PUC) marks kept the dream out of reach. He again tried twice to pursue medicine after completing a BSc in Zoology, but failed. Then, he worked as a zoology teacher at the Dharmapuri Government Higher Secondary School, from where he retired.
However, when the Supreme Court passed an interim order scrapping the upper age limit to write NEET, Sivaprakasam’s hope was renewed, and he wrote the exam last year. “Though it was hard, I was excited to write NEET,” smiles Sivaprakasam.