Auto-rickshaw driver's daughter Prema Jayakumar tops CA exam

Prema Jayakumar
The poky confines of her 300 sq ft chawl could not deter Prema Jayakumar from dreaming big and now this autorickshaw driver's daughter is set to live her dream, having topped the all India Chartered Accountancy (CA) examination.

Prema, 24, is ecstatic to have secured the first rank in the examination conducted by the prestigious Institute of Chartered Accountants of India in November 2012, results of which were announced yesterday.

"It's my lifetime achievement. For me the key to success is hardwork," she said when asked about how she felt about having topped the examination, one of the toughest in the country.

Slightly built and modest, Prema, who earned Rs 6,000 a month during her articleship at Chartered Accountancy firm Kishore Seth & Company, credited her father Jayakumar Perumal and homemaker mother Lingammal for her success.

"It would not have been possible without their support and blessings. My parents always motivated me. I would now want my parents, who have done so much for me, to live a life of comfort," she said as a doting Jayakumar, in his khaki uniform, flashed a broad smile.

"I am proud of my parents who never allowed money to come in the way of my academic pursuit and that of my brother," she said as she held her mother in tender embrace at their tiny asbestos-roofed dwelling at S B Khan Chawl in suburban Malad.

"Now I want my father, who has worked so hard so that can I realise my dreams, to take some rest," says Prema, a graduate from Nagindas Khandwala College.

Jayakumar, who has toiled long hours every day to get good education for his children, nodded in approval.

"Umra bhi ho gayi. Ab kuch aram karoonga, bahut achcha lag raha hai. (I have grown old. Now I will take some rest, it feels so good)," says Jayakumar as he prepares to wind down after the day's hard work on Mumbai's noisy streets.

The family, originally from Tamil Nadu, is settled in Mumbai and Jayakumar has been driving autorickshaw for close to two decades to support his family of four.

The crammed quarters with photos of Hindu gods, utensils and clothes hanging from aluminium pegs betray its occupants' modest means.

Yesterday was the happiest day for the family as both Prema and her younger brother Dhanraj, 22, cleared the ICAI test. Prema secured an impressive 607 marks out of 800 in the challenging examination. The siblings had registered themselves together with ICAI.

She had shown her academic potential earlier too when she scored 90 per cent marks in her Third Year B Com examination, finishing second at Mumbai University.

Dhanraj, who worked for some time at a call centre while completing his degree course to fund his education, said, "My sister is my hero, the source of my inspiration.

"Bahut khush hoon, aur kya kahoon (I am very happy, what more can I say)," said a beaming Lingammal looking proudly at her children, content in the belief they would now live their dreams.

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