Kota: Unlike other aspirants, cracking an all-India entrance exam for a medical college was not just a dream for 26-year-old Arvind Kumar but a way to give a befitting reply to people at whose hands his family faced humiliation for years.
A resident of Uttar Pradesh's Kushinagar district, Arvind says he decided to become a doctor as his scrap dealer father, Bhikhari, was subjected to constant humiliation by villagers because of his work and name, which in English means a beggar.
However, success did not come easy for him. He first appeared in 2011 for the All-India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT), now replaced by the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET).
Arvind says the success came only in his ninth attempt this year, in which he secured all-India Rank 11603. He bagged Rank 4,392 in the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category.
Arvind says at any moment, he did not feel disheartened.
"I tend to convert negativity into positivity and extract energy and motivation from it," says Arvind.
He gives the credit of his success to his family, self-belief and consistent hard work.
Arvind says his father, Bhikhari, had studied up to Class 5 while his mother Lalita Devi has never been to a school.
He grew up seeing his father facing humiliation just because of his unusual name. Leaving them behind, his father had to move to Jamshedpur's Tatanagar for work around two decades ago.
After some years, for better education of his three children, Bhikhari shifted his family from their village to Kushinagar town, where Arvind completed Class 10 with a mere 48.6 per cent marks.
He showed a slight improvement in Class 12, scoring 60 per cent marks.
It was here that Arvind made up his mind to become a doctor to fulfil his father's wish.
Attempt after attempts continued for nine years without success.
"But the improvement in marks at every attempt was a ray of hope that kept me concentrated at my goal," he says, adding that the change in the exam structure to NEET did disturb his preparation a bit.
He moved to a Kota institute in 2018 for coaching fearing that he may miss achieving his goal due to the age bar for the exam.
His father said over the phone from Jamshedpur's Tatanagar that he had to work 12 to 15 hours a day to meet the expenses of his son's stay in Kota.
"I worked for 12 to 15 hours daily to earn enough to meet educational expenses of my children and would visit the family, around 800-900 km away in Kushinagar, once in six months for a brief period," Bhikhari says.
"My son Arvind has proved his commitment to the goal. I am very proud of him," he further says.
His brother Amit always motivated Arvind for improvement in marks at every attempt. It was Amit, who first suggested that he should move to Kota to take coaching there, the father says.
"I am happy and my family is proud of me that I am now going to be the first doctor in my village of around 1,500-1,600 people," says Arvind.
He still says villagers are threatening to trap his family in a criminal case to spoil his chances of getting a government job.
But Arvind says he is now hopeful of securing admission to a medical college in Gorakhpur and wants to become an orthopaedic surgeon.
"Even a minor bone injury hurts a lot. Increasing road accidents trouble me a lot so I just wish to serve people as an orthopaedic surgeon," he says.