Guwahati: Covid survivor Nikhilesh Dutta, who fought the virus during the deadly second wave of the pandemic and was hospitalised for nasal bone surgery a few months later in 2021 that compelled him to skip last year’s Class 12 state board exam, pulled off a spectacular success by becoming the state topper in science this year as a private candidate.
Nikhilesh, who hails from Ramdia in Hajo area in lower Assam’s Kamrup district lost his uncle (elder brother of his father), who was a mentor and guide for the joint family, to Covid. Seven members of the family were infected by coronavirus.
In October 2021, just a few months before he was scheduled to appear in Class 12 board examination, he had to undergo the nasal bone surgery in Chennai and it took almost four months for him to recover fully.
By then the exams were just weeks away and the teachers advised him not to appear in the exam due to lack of preparation.
A brilliant student since childhood, Nikhilesh got eighth rank in Class X boards and losing an academic year hurt him. But Nikhilesh had full faith in his capabilities. “Covid almost shattered our dreams. After I recovered from Covid by June, I had breathing problems. I had to undergo surgery in Chennai in October 2021 and could not prepare for board exams. Losing an academic year was painful as I could not appear in the board exam next year,” Nikhilesh told TOI. Nikhilesh’s family took advice from the teachers who suggested skipping the board exam for a year so that below-par performance does not upset him.
Nikhilesh’s father Nagendra Nath Dutta, a retired teacher of Ramdia Girls HS School, was overjoyed at his son’s success. “We had full faith in Nikhilesh’s calibre. Had he not fallen ill, Nikhilesh could have tasted success last year itself,” said Nagendra Nath. He expressed gratitude to Ramanujan Senior Secondary School, where Nikhilesh studied in Class 11 and 12, for giving him the opportunity to do regular classes for an extra year.
Nikhilesh appeared in the all-India medical entrance NEET this year and is eagerly waiting for the results. “There are many entrance tests ahead but I would love to study medical science to serve the society,” he said.

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