But last week at the Burns Unit of Bir Hospital, there was Ermy her legs bandaged and in considerable pain, taking her SLC accounts paper in the wards with an invigilator and security official in attendance (pictured left). Always someone to look at the bright side, Ermy says it was easier to study in the hospital because there was no load-shedding.
She thinks she'd have performed better if it hadn't been for the accident, but adds she has done well in all her papers. "I hope to get above 70 per cent," she says confidently.
Megh Raj Bajagai, Ermy's science teacher said: "Ermy is among our most diligent students, we were hoping she'd get a distinction, so we couldn't let the accident discourage her."
Bir Hospital has registered an increase in the number of burn cases after the 16-hour daily power cuts went into effect this winter. Says the Burns Unit in-charge Nara Devi Bariya: "There is a burn case very other day, and although not all the cases are because of load shedding, it has certainly increased the risk factor."
Bariya recalls the case of a young man last month who died of 90 per cent burns over his body. He had stored petrol in his house because of the fuel shortage. With no electricity, he had been checking up on his fuel stash with a candle. The Kathmandu Fire Brigade also says that fire incidents have significantly increased since load shedding started.
For most families who can't afford invertors and generators, candles and oil lamps are the only alternative. Combined with the exams, this increased the risk of burns as many students fell asleep while studying at night.
'A burning issue', #382