August 2010 is a blank for Tushar Agrawal. He does not have even a bleak recollection of where he was or what he did all through that month. Hostel mates say they often saw the 18-year-old talking to the walls, flinch at sudden noise from the neighbouring room and twitch if he didn’t top a test.
This year was Tushar’s last attempt at the Joint Entrance Exam. In 2010, his all India rank was not good enough to land him in a popular engineering stream. He came to Mumbai from Akola, seeking coaching and professional help to prepare for JEE.
“Tushar is a bright child. What I noticed about him was that his fundamental concepts were clear. I am happy that he can join an IIT despite the huge setback,” says Praveen Tyagi who coached him free for the entrance test. But somewhere along 2011, the stress broke him. His parents, both doctors who practise in Akola, took him back home.
Coming from a family of doctors, Tushar turned to engineering for his love for maths. “I don’t remember what I went through. I know I used to talk a lot, most times to myself. I think I got very anxious about my rank; I was overambitious. Each time my performance didn’t match my expectation, I lost control over myself,” Tushar says.
But in December, Tushar pulled himself together and came back to Mumbai. In this edition of the JEE, Tushar’s score improved a tad bit; he stood 6,676. He’s qualified this year too, to join an IIT.