To IIT on the Wheelchair with askIITians!
In the last four-five years, I have realized that achievers are not born. They get there with hard work, some luck and lots of support from parents, friends and guides. I have been extremely lucky to have the best of people to light up my way in whatever I chose to do.
As I look forward to the day I will pass out from the IIT as an engineering graduate, I can now see the freakish ways of how God’s plans for me have unfolded.
I was just five when my legs had to be amputated. My mother, who is illiterate herself, sought special permission to sit outside my class all day long to carry me around whenever needed.
When it was sunny, she would sit under the big banyan tree outside my class from where she could see me constantly.
She never complained about being tired or bored all through those 12 excruciating years.
Sometimes she would knit silently to pass her time. At others times, she would just listen to what is being taught in class and ask me questions from my textbooks at home. During those early years, I never realized that my mother does not know how to read or write!
In Class III, I got my first wheelchair. My mother would push me around on the wheelchair while my friends, mostly my seniors, carried me when I had to go to places where wheelchair could not go.
I first heard of IIT when one my senior friends joined Vidyamandir Classes nearby and later got through IIT JEE. I started dreaming of making it through the gates of IIT one day too.
After Class X, I requested my father who was working as an assistant at a local shop to enroll me in a good coaching institute. None of the coaching institutes were wheelchair-friendly. Most of them conducted their classes on the first or second floor in the busy market areas. I was too heavy for my mother to carry anymore and all my friends were already busy with the different ways they had chosen.
As the days passed, I was becoming more and more desperate. I was not an exceptional student and I did need help with my subjects, especially if I had to crack IIT JEE – one of the most competitive exams in the world.
My father bought me a computer and I tried learning on my own. But it was still not easy. Just when I was about to give up hope, I came across askIITians.com and that changed my life!
They were offering online coaching classes which have been designed and are taught by ex-IITians. I could interact directly with my teachers too. It came as a blessing to me. For the first time perhaps, I realized the power of Internet to change lives of people like me.
From then on, I devoted myself to my studies. I would come home from school, finish my homework, attend live classes with my teachers, complete my assignments and practice papers, and did my best to do better in each subsequent test.
My teachers were simply brilliant. They were not only subject experts but excellent motivators. They did not pity me at all. They treated me as a bright student and I loved to brainstorm with them on the problems in hand. The best part was that with time, they became my friends and then, my mentors.
I would discuss with them about the life at IITs, which IIT would suit me best and is wheelchair-friendly, which course and career should I choose for myself where my disability would not become an obstacle in my future growth and many such things. They advised me to be independent and learn to do things on my own. It was my teachers at askIITians who told me that IIT Madras is wheelchair-friendly, offers attached bath to disabled students, and given my love for algorithms and computer theory, I can choose Computer Science Engineering as my discipline.
Besides mastering the fundamentals and excelling in studies, askIITians inspired me to learn to be on my own. I started pushing my wheelchair myself and learning to do things on my own.
On the day of the exam, everything seemed easy. It was just like giving other tests I had taken with askIITians. I knew I had performed well. But still, the day of the result seemed like it would never come. I did not get a very good All India Rank but within the PwD category, I was among the Top 5.
Can you guess which IIT did I choose during counseling? IIT Madras, of course! It was a dream come true and all because of all the great askIITians, my friends and my doting parents. God has made me a lucky man!
We received this very interesting testimonial from a Physically Disabled askIITian who successfully cracked IIT JEE 2011 on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This post was published by Aditya Singhal, co-founder of askIITians.