His guitar playing got him into the record books and he also has an excellent academic record. But Agra boy Akash Gupta is in deep despair - he had been dreaming of admission to a top school with full scholarship but has been denied the opportunity for no fault of his.
Akash, 15, was promised the 100 percent scholarship if he secured 90 percent marks in the Class 10 exams conducted by the Council for the Indian School Certificate, says his father Krishan Gupta.
When the results came in May this year, he was shocked to see the mark sheet - his percentage was below 90. His dream world was in a shambles. But Krishan Gupta, a factory worker and thus a man of humble means, collected Rs.3,200 and petitioned the Council for recounting of marks.
After a recheck, the Council informed the principal of St Peter's College, where Akash studies, that in computer applications the boy had secured 98 and not 76, a jump of 22 marks that raised his percentage well above the required 90 percent.
Unfortunately, the information came a bit too late as the last date for admission had expired.
Krishan Gupta told IANS: 'Two top schools (one in Delhi and the other in Gurgaon) had promised admission with 100 percent free scholarship. Now these schools say it's too late.'
The Council refuses to give more information asked for in an RTI application filed by Krishan Gupta, saying 'the Council is not a public authority and such is not covered under the meaning of Section 2 (h) of the RTI Act 2005.'
What should Akash do now? A brilliant student and an all-rounder with exceptional talent in guitar playing, he is at a crossroads. The school management blames destiny, the Council says nothing, and his sympathisers and well-wishers want him to fight it out.
A writ petition has been filed in the Allahabad High Court, says Krishna Gupta. 'Somebody has to be held accountable for spoiling the career of a talented boy,' he says.
He refuses to accept it as a quirk of destiny.
'Akash was absolutely confident of putting up a good performance and even his teachers had high expectations of him. It cannot be oversight, but is a deliberate conspiracy of some people and I am determined to expose the system's failure,' Gupta says.
Akash surprised everyone with his stamina and commitment when in June last year he played the guitar non-stop for 55 hours, making it to the Guinness Book of Records and later followed it up with 70 hours, again making to the record book. He also figures in the Limca Book and the India Book of Records.
(Brij Khandelwal can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)