In one of her poems, 16-year-old Vanshika Pathak from Bhopal wrote, "I'll be a strong girl Daddy without you". And Pathak kept that promised and scored 99.8 per cent in her CBSE Class 10 exams. Her scores are truly commendable given the fact that she lost both her parents to COVID in May.
A student of Carmel Convent, she scored 100 in Science, English, Sanskrit and Social Science and 97 in Maths. She struugled with grief, loss, shock and agony while preparing for her exams.
Had To Stay Strong and Focussed
The Times of India quoted her as saying "I lost Papa and Ma within a week. There was complete darkness before me. I felt I had lost everything in my life." She added that then she looked at her 10-year-old brother and realized that she was all he had. She said, "At this age, I have become his father and mother. I could not let myself fall apart. I had to stay strong and stay focused." The iron-willed young girl went from grief to acceptance to bounce back at life.
Dreams Of Being An IITian
She said that her motive is to fulfil her father's dream, who wanted to see her as an IITian or crack UPSC and serve the nation. She said, "His dream is my dream now". Jeetendra Kumar Pathak, her father, was a financial advisor, and her mother, Seema Pathak was a government school teacher. The last time the children saw their parents were when they had gone to the hospital for their checkup and had said, "See you soon". Unfortunately, they never returned. The girl still has the memory raw in her mind. She spoke to her mother on May 2 for the last time, and she passed away on May 4.
The relatives did not tell the children of the tragedy because the father was still in the hospital. Pathak's father died on May 15. When the relatives told her that she had lost both her parents, she was shattered. She said that she did not even get to see her mother's body. She said that now the only way forward is by fulfilling her parents' dream. "I will stand tall," she said.
Pathak is one among the 1.2 lakh children in India who have lost caregiver (parent or custodial grandparent) to COVID.