When the doctor said that a kidney transplant was the only way to save Sunu Fathima's life, she had asked him whether she could write her exams scheduled for the coming week. The final year engineering degree student who was more concerned about her exams than her life had then convinced the doctors to postpone the surgery. But fate had intervened once again, and she began lose her eye sight.
However, Kadungalloor native Sunu Fathima was not ready to back off; she took on her life and the exams with confidence, perseverance, and hard work. The fighter in her finally emerged winner when she graduated from the TocH engineering college in Ernakulam with a glorious rank one. She repeated her winning streak when she again became the first rank holder for MTech as well.
It was during another exam season when Sunu Fathima began to complain of severe stomach pain. Her father Hameed was upset when he watched his daughter who would face any hardship with a smile, writhe in pain. Though he had advised her to consult a doctor, Sunu was scared that she would get admitted to a hospital.
However, she was taken to the hospital when the pain became insufferable. The doctors, in the beginning, said that it was just a case of urinary infection. But when the pain didn't subside and she became weak, doctors prescribed further tests.
The family was devastated when the test results came. Both her kidneys weren't functioning properly and the doctors advised immediate transplantation in order to save Sunu's life. It was then, with extraordinary courage, that Sunu said that the surgery should be postponed for her to write the exam.
Sunu's parents were frantically looking for donors. Meanwhile she was diligently preparing for her last semester examinations. Her parents who didn't have the courage to forgo the doctor's advice, were heartbroken when they learned that their daughter had chosen to write her exams instead of getting ready for the surgery.
When there were only a few days for the exam, Sunu cried and pleaded to her parents to allow her to write the exams. Those parents who realized their daughter's passion for academics then complied and requested the doctors to postpone the surgery.
Finally, the doctors agreed by prescribing at least 4 dialyses a week to save Sunu's life. The dialyses were scheduled as per her exam time table. It was decided that Sunu would stop attending classes and would reach the college only to write the exam.
When Sunu asked her mother to switch on the light as she couldn't see anything written on her book, the latter was surprised as it was well lit outside. But even after switching on the light, Sunu couldn't see a word written on her books. Her parents were devastated to know that their daughter was slowly losing her eyesight due to high blood pressure.
An unexpected stroke had further deteriorated her health. The doctors went back their earlier decision to conduct the transplant as soon as possible. Sunu's parents could only watch in despair and helplessness their daughter who had been determined to write the exams despite her losing eyesight, and failing health.
Looking for a scribe
''I can write the exam with the help of a scribe, with special permission from the university,'' Sunu told her father. He was stunned to realize the extreme passion in Sunu to complete her studies rather than choosing a life-saving operation. He, however, didn't know what to say to the doctors who had even fixed the date of the surgery.
The compassionate father decided to support his daughter. It was Sunu herself who suggested the name of Keerthana, a junior at her college, as the scribe. The college authorities and the department head Sherley had helped her secure the permission from the university to use a scribe for the examination. Sunu's teachers and close friends Reshma and Rani had been with her to support and encourage her all through these difficult times.
Meanwhile, Hameed, who used to run a business near Kadungalloor, had to give it up as he was busy running around making all the arrangements at the hospital and the university.
Learning the lessons
Sunu had no other way but to listen to the lessons read out loud by her friends and learn. She had gone through great physical pain, especially during the days after the dialysis. When she laid for hours on the dialysis table, she closed her eyes and tried to recall all the lessons that she had studied for the exam. Equations and formulae became her panacea to fight back in life. Her parents, friends, and teachers were there to support her and Sunu says that it was their prayers which helped her recover soon.
She would rush to college the very next day after undergoing a dialysis treatment. The authorities had allotted a special exam hall for Sunu and her scribe. Though she was weak, she lied down on the bench and narrated the answers which Keerthi wrote down on the answer sheets. Sunu would be shifted to the hospital immediately after she completed her exams.
She underwent the transplant surgery as soon as her exams got over, and the operation was successful. After months of proper treatment and medication, she slowly began to regain her eyesight.
When she thought that her life would be limited to the hospital wards and her room at home, the results of Btech exam was announced. Sunu Fathima had graduated with a glorious first rank. More than any medicine, this exhilarating news helped her gain a new lease of life. Her parents couldn't be more proud of their daughter who conquered her illness with her perseverance and courage.
She became more confident as she began to regain her eyesight. Sunu enrolled for her MTech degree at the prestigious Cochin University of Science and Technology. After completing her education, Sunu became a teacher at CUSAT itself. The girl who fought destiny had finally accomplished her dream to impart knowledge and life experiences to others.