MERI KAHAANI MERI JUBAANI; My Journey from village to IIT Delhi

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super30 ex student pankaj
Journey of Mr. Pankaj Kapadia from a student of a small village of Bihar to Super-30 and then a Teacher

This story is about my tryst with the SUPER-30. Education begins at home, they say. For me, it began with a man named Dr. Mubarak Hussain, “Head Sir”, as we used to call him. He was the founder of a private school, which was the only entity that provided English medium studies (NCERT Pattern) in our village Nasriganj, Bihar and nearby surroundings. The school uniform, discipline and somewhat parity of treatment were brought in there by him. The revolution (if I may say so) of education in our lives was brought by him. If it was within my power and discretion, I would have recommended him for a Padma award. Besides him, Mr. Santosh Kumar Pandey is worth mentioning. He guided me on a lot of aspects and took me to places. He was more of a friend cum family member.

Leaving behind Nasriganj, with no CBSE affiliated school, I studied 9th and 10th at Army School Allahabad and DAV Aurangabad. Coming from a background with absolutely nobody to guide me about what next, I took up Science (Maths) as it was a general belief that studious students opt for Science stream. I had no idea about Commerce stream. Another name worth mentioning here during my intermediate studies is Prof. B Dutta from Department of Chemistry, Gossner College, Ranchi. That was the first time I heard about IITs and it became a dream destination for me.

In Patna, I came to know about Anand Sir (Ramanujan School of Mathematics – RSM). I even got to know about Dheeraj Sir and K.Singh Sir through friends and joined their classes for Math, Physical Chemistry and Organic Chemistry respectively. Unfortunately, no one suggested me a teacher for physics who could complete the syllabus in a year. I decided to try it on my own. However, I met two teachers Pravin Sir and Amit Sir, who offered free classes for physics in the premises of RSM only. It was arranged by Anand Sir with whatever T&C they might have had among themselves. I had qualified IIT JEE screening 2005 with AIR 6004 (memory based) but was somehow unsuccessful at clearing the cut off in MAINS 2005 in Physics.

And then SUPER-30 happened to me.

SUPER-30, as it was known to us, was a joint initiative by Anand Sir and Abhayanand Sir. I had already been a student of Anand Sir (RSM). I had met the achievers of 2005 batch S-30. So, getting selected in the SUPER-30 was an obvious preference and a matter of pride. In Aug 2005, I filled up its entrance test form which came to ₹ 10. Thereby, after the two-stage examination in Sept and Oct respectively, the final list was announced. I had ranked 7th.

CM Nitish Kumar Congratulating Successful Candidates (IIT JEE) of Super-30. Left: Pankaj Kapadia

On Nov 1st, 2005, it all started. We had our JEE examination in April. During the tenure of 160 days, we were provided free food and accommodation. The expenses were borne by Anand Sir (RSM). His brother, Pranav Sir (Chhote Sir), as we called him, looked after our day to day business. Abhayanand Sir visited us often and if I talk about Physics-Chemistry-Maths (PCM), he guided us in physics. However, SUPER-30 to me and for all my mates was not only about PCM, it was much more beyond that. One cannot teach PCM in just 5 months. In fact, there was hardly any formal class arranged during the tenure. It was not required. All the students were equipped enough with PCM to combat JEE. We needed something else.

CM Nitish Kumar, Super-30 founders Shri Abhyanand & Shri Anand, Teachers, Staff Members and Successful Students of Super-30

The best thing SUPER-30 did for me was to provide a platform where we got a group which was competitive yet collaborative. We helped one another, propelled each other. This was the primary driving force which led to the success of the program. But that does not demean the contribution of our mentors in any manner. Anand Sir, as an expert of mathematics, had emphasized on thinking of different methods to solve questions in mathematics during my studies at RSM as well. Abhayanand Sir, though he kept busy in his police service, found a time and instilled a lot of confidence in me. This is what all of us lacked the most, “Self Belief”, the X-factor I must say. He surfaced the concept of lateral thinking. He showed us how to relate different streams together. He related Matrices with Vectors, EMI with Chemical EQM. He made us think. He never provided solutions directly. He would come up with another question and in the course of solving that, we used to get the crux of the previous question. Both of them emphasized on tests. We had tests twice or thrice a week. From Anand Sir, I learned mathematics. It was my favorite subject. I owe it to him. He made it interesting. From Abhayanand Sir, I learned how to have clarity of thoughts, how to tackle problems in general, be it studies or something else, how to face examinations, the importance of “Those six hours”. When we went for counseling, he made it clear to opt for IIT Delhi or Bombay. Maybe because of his own experience or because his own kids were already at the IITs. Even now, when I see him putting in a lot of time post-retirement into Rahmani-30 and other programs, he is very clear in his thoughts and goals. Nowadays, I see him discussing physics in detail, the methodology remains the same. I try and implement the same when I teach kids now.

In my opinion,

SUPER-30 is a concept which is applicable everywhere. Not necessarily for JEE. It gives an alternative that the society itself can resolve its problems without an aid from the government. “SUPER-30 is a concept of giving back to the society”, I remember both of them saying it.

I would like to quote the words said by Anand Sir in an interview,

“Humne tumse fees nahi lee, to fees ke roop mein, apne pradesh mein wapis aao, aur samaaj ko lautao.”

Similar, yet broader version was heard from Abhayanand Sir,

“Jis Samaaj se itna kuchh mila hai, agar hum usko nahi lautayenge, to hum samaaj ke rini reh jayenge.”

Yudhishthira said in Mahabharat while replying to Yaksha,

“Jo rini nahi hai, wo sukhi hai.”

I would like to quote an example of one of my student, Rahul. He cleared JEE ’16 in his first attempt, currently studying Mechanical Engineering at IIT BOMBAY. He comes from a humble background from Husseypur Mahuani in Muzaffarpur. He was talented and most importantly, dedicated and hard-working. We, at IITian’s Tapasya just showed him the right path. Coming from a background like Dharpadi High School with problems in language, he conquered his adversities. He had it in him. As a part of the privileged class of the society, we all owe this to the society. It’s a responsibility we must share. Else talents like Rahul might get misguided and would lose their worth.

I Thank the founders of SUPER-30. This letter would remain incomplete without paying gratitude to Chhote Sir (Pranav Sir) for managing everything during our tenure. We had our day-to-day problems solved by him. I pay my gratitude to all my colleagues of SUPER-30 as they helped me more than anyone else.

Note: This story is purely based on 2005-06 SUPER-30 batch. No idea about what happened prior or after that year.

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