A student of Our Own English High School (Boys) Smit Khandelwal was all set to clear his Grade 12 board exams last year (2017 academic year). The now 18-year-old Smit was academically bright and was the school sports captain before he suffered a massive brain haemorrhage last year, leaving the left side of his body paralysed.
Due to a series of illnesses that resulted from the haemorrhage, he could not write his exams last year. However, after a year of severe physical and mental struggle, Smit, a science stream student, scored an impressive 83 per cent marks.
Speaking to Khaleej Times after the results were announced, Smit said, "The haemorrhage caused hemiplegia (paralysis), and a series of other problems that put me in a hospital for seven months."
His mother Sujata explained, "He had to undergo a craniotomy, which is the cutting of the skull bone to give space for brain swelling. It resulted in hydrocephalus, which is a condition in which there is an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within the brain."
Smit is now fitted with a small shunt, a device which regulates CSF flow. "The shunt will be with him throughout his life. He also underwent several occupational and physiotherapy sessions," added Sujata.
Despite all the challenges, Smit returned to school and worked very hard to clear his board exams his year. "I would not be able to attend full-day classes; however, I managed to clear the final exams," Smit added.
School principal Sreevalsan Murugan said, "Smit is an inspiration for me. After almost a year of hospitalisation, he made his way back to school and virtually clawed back to life. He was also a TEDx speaker." The principal explained Smit's peers were very supportive of his condition, and he had a scribe writing his exams for him. Smit's subject combinations are Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Biology, and English.
His scribe, Siddhartha SV (16), a Grade 12 student wrote all his board exams for him. He said, "Smit was the star of our school. What happened to him was unfair, scribing for him was the best way to give him a farewell. He narrated the answers and I wrote it for him. Despite everything he has gone through, he managed to score great marks and I am very happy for him. He is like my mentor and older brother."