When I was in school, one could do some social service work and gain ten marks in the noble act; which would then be added to the overall score that led to the final percentage in the results. Every single mark counts, especially in Class X and hence most students would be lured into doing social service whether they really appreciated and believed in the good deed or not. I for one thought it would also be a fun activity and hence signed up for it, also knowing fully well that the extra marks would not hurt. You could choose your calling and would have to complete the service before the final exams would begin. I chose to become a writer for exams taken by blind students. A deed long forgotten!Courage Is Found In Improbable Places; blind student becomes a Chartered Accountant #Inspiration… Click To Tweet
Two days back I while I was browsing twitter I chanced upon a two and a half year old news item that shook me (pleasantly so), and reminded me how difficult it was to merely write answers for the blind students and how mighty challenging it must have been for them – something I didn’t realise fully back then. While writing on behalf of the blind student as she dictated to me, the thought that she may have aspirations of a career never even occurred to me. How we take so many things for granted and many a times don’t give much importance to things that may be so dear to many due to the lack of it. When I read about J. Rajashekar Reddy, 23 years old back then in 2013, who went on to become India’s first blind Chartered Accountant, my heart swelled with pride and my eyes moistened; suddenly bringing back memories of Class X and the social service work which didn’t mean more than a ten mark worth ‘project’ to me that time.
Rajashekar Reddy lost his vision at the age of 11 due to a damaged optical nerve caused by brain tumour and as everyone whose world darkens thinks, he too thought that he would never meet success in his life. Perhaps, little did he know back then that he would write his own success story thanks to his commitment, persuasion and never say die attitude. The Guntur boy who went into depression and never paid too much attention to studies earlier was taken to Hyderabad by his grandmother when she heard about the Devnar School for the Blind. Rajashekar met with the school counsellor there when he was in Class ten and that meeting set the wheels for his career in motion.
He worked hard and would record the classes at his coaching institute to hear the lectures again after returning home. Preparing for such an examination becomes doubly difficult for a visually impaired student due to lack of study material. However, Rajashekar’s teachers and many volunteers helped him record the books into an audio format through scanners. But this is just about the preparation for the exams. I shudder to think about the difficulty posed by the examination itself where the questions for the practical paper are lengthy, and going over them again and again becomes tedious. Students with normal vision can always go back to a certain part of the question or pick up a book and start reading anytime, a luxury not available to a visually impaired student. But Rajashekar’s motivation and drive to achieve his childhood dream coupled with the aid of his teachers, friends and volunteers saw him through the difficulties and helped him clear the final examination in the second attempt in January 2013. A feat that many would perhaps call a fantasy and would never gather the courage to even dream of!
While Rajashekar was quick to pass on the credit to everyone who supported him throughout and made his success a possiblilty, I am in complete concurrence with Dr. A. Saibaba Gowd, chairman of the Devnar Foundation who said, “A visually-impaired person is as good as anyone and need not be pitied. They can reach the pinnacle of success through hard work.” Truly, people like Rajashekar are a shining example in this world that proves that nothing succeeds like success when you set your mind to it, despite the most difficult challenges that life may pose which may prove to be a threat and hindrance in achieving a cherished dream.
I salute folks like Rajashekar who make the adage ‘fortune favours the brave’ come alive and hope and pray that it sets an example for us lucky ones who have everything going for us!
Featured Image source: Flickr