Saira Sirohi, a 16 year old who was an immensely talented and hard working swimmer from Ghaziabad, gave up upon life earlier this week. At the age of 8, she swam for 15 hours non-stop, covering a whopping 38 kms and by the time she was 16, she had already won several medals and honours at national championships for her school and state. Saira dreamt of representing India in Olympics one day. Saira’s father reported that the cause of her fatal act was due to the pressure she felt from her school which made her feel that she would fail in the examinations.
At the tender age of 16, Saira was an over achiever as her skills made her more successful and more importantly, more skilled than most other kids her age. Even all this did not make her good enough as per the Indian education system. She constantly juggled between the academic pressure and her own wish of going to the Olympics. Raju Chaudhry, Saira’s coach stated,” She had been telling me she won’t come for training for more than a month because she was afraid her school would fail her in her exams. She said if she failed, she would be rusticated. She had appeared in three papers which she had missed owing to her championships. She was scheduled to appear in the fourth paper on Monday.”
Saira is just one of the many examples of kids who commit suicide everyday as they are unable to balance the pressure of studies with what they ultimately want to do. It is high time that the society needs to realize that not every child is the same, not everyone of us have the same skills, not everyone of us want to be mathematicians and scientists, that our marks do not determine our worth. Only then such fatal incidents can be avoided.
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