Mumbai: Maharashtra Governor K. Sankaranarayanan on Friday felicitated Prema Jayakumar for topping the chartered accountancy (CA) examinations, an official said.
At a function in Raj Bhavan, the governor awarded Prema Rs100,000 and asked her to take care of her parents, autorickshaw driver Jayakumar Perumal and his home-maker wife, Lingammal.
Sankaranarayanan also invited Prema, her younger brother Dhanaraj and their parents to attend the Republic Day function with VVIPs at Raj Bhavan Saturday.
Prema was accompanied by Dhanaraj - who also cleared the CA exams in his first attempt - and Ancy Jose, principal of Nagindas Khandwala College, Malad, where she studied.
Daughter of a migrant from Tamil Nadu, Prema lives with her family in a tiny 300 sq. ft. tenement in a congested and noisy neighbourhood in Malad, a north Mumbai suburb. Her achievement stunned the nation earlier this week.
Ever since the exam result was announced, the family has been besieged with phone calls from the national and international media, with top Indian and foreign companies eager to hire her.
Along with Prema, 24, her 22-year-old brother also cleared the same CA exam, the results of which were announced Jan 21. Prema had scored 607/800 marks.
Speaking to hordes of mediapersons thronging their home the past couple of days, Prema said that her father earned around Rs.15,000 per month, barely sufficient to sustain the family. He came to Mumbai from Tamil Nadu over two decades ago.
Earlier, Prema’s mother worked in a small private company.
“Our parents never restrained us from studies because of monetary issues. My mother stopped working when we (the brother-sister duo) started our articleship (CA internship) and earned around Rs.12,000 per month,” Prema said, holding her mother’s hand as her eyes moistened.
“Now I want my father to rest. He deserves it,” Prema said, adding that she and her brother planned to take up jobs soon and take over the family’s responsibilities.
Prema is no stranger to academic achievements and accolades, which started coming her way early in her academic life.
At her school and later at the Nagindas Khandwala College, Malad, she was granted nominal scholarships which helped cover her educational expenses.
Later, at the CA coaching institute, she got a scholarship of Rs.40,000, solving the family’s acute financial problem.
Dhanraj chose not to burden his elder sister and worked in a call centre to supplement his income, which went towards his educational expenses.
Prema proved her worth for every scholarship and in 2008, she stood second in the B.Com. examinations of the University of Mumbai, followed by a good performance in her post-graduation.
In November 2012, the duo appeared for the CA finals.