Bengaluru: Medical aspirant clears NEET at 59, to appear again for better score

BENGALURU: After beginning as an autodidact, a 59-year-old Bengalurean who went on to become an engineer, did MSc in computer science from BITS Pilani and worked as a rocket scientist at Isro, is now having a go at another arena – medical education.

Having successfully appeared for National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) this year, Rajan babu from Rajajinagar V Block is getting ready to appear again for the test next year, determined as he is to score more and land an MBBS seat under government quota. His son and daughter are already studying MBBS.

Born in 1963, Babu could not attend school owing to financial crisis in his family. When neighbouring boys of his age were in classrooms, he had to toil in power looms and work as a valet in small shops to take care of his family, comprising an ill father, homemaker-mother and elder sisters, even as he yearned to study. 

Things changed in 1981 when Babu’s friend told him that he can continue studies by appearing for the class 10 exam as a private candidate. “I took basic lessons in alphabets and tables among other things from my mother. I studied the subjects on my own. I appeared for the exam and was successful. Then, based on my class 10 markscard, I joined diploma in electrical engineering and simultaneously, worked with Mico Bosch in different capacities for more than five years,” Babu told.

With a diploma in hand and work experience as an electrical engineer, Babu successfully completed the Associate Member of Institute of Engineers (AMIE) exam in 1992, which was considered an equivalent of BE. “I worked as electrical engineer with Post and Telegraph for a little over two years,” he said.

Worked at Isro for 5 yrs”While working at P&T, I had applied for Isro, which had called for engineers. There were only two posts and I was told nearly one lakh applications had reached Isro. I was selected in 1995 and worked for five years as a rocket scientist,” Babu said.

During his Isro stint, Babu started pursuing MSc (computer science) at BITS Pilani and completed it in 1999. He then flew to the US in 2000, where he worked in different firms, including a few software giants, until 2007. Babu got back to Bengaluru so that he could spend time with his family.

However, another change in his life came in 2019 when his childhood dream of becoming a doctor was reignited after seeing his children joining MBBS. Babu appeared for II PU science exams as a private student and cleared them. 

“To my luck, the upper age limit for NEET was scrapped this year and I appeared for the exam, scoring 449 out of 720. But the marks were not enough to get me an MBBS seat under government quota. I will re-appear next year and score more than 650 marks, so that I can fulfil my dream,” he said. Former education minister and Rajajinagar MLA S Suresh Kumar met Babu on Tuesday night when he was visiting houses in his constituency. Later, Kumar wrote about Babu’s achievements on Facebook.

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