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Friday, July 15, 2016

Naresh, the lucky guy : A Dream On Story

Naga Naresh Karutura has just passed out of IIT Madras in Computer Science and has joined Google in Bangalore. But why am I telling you this? What is so special about this 21 year old? Nothing, except that his parents are illiterate, he has no legs and moves around in his powered wheel chair...Read on..

What separates Naresh from all children his age is his positive attitude and hard work in adverse situations and his belief in God. This is a deadly combination indeed.

Childhood Days in his village
Naresh spent the first seven years of his life in Teeparru, a small village in Andhra Pradesh, on the banks of the river Godavari. His father Prasad was a lorry driver and mother Kumari, a house wife. Though they were illiterate, his parents instilled in him and his elder sister (Sirisha) the importance of studying.

Naresh fondly recollects some of his memories,
"Looking back, one thing that surprises me now is the way my father taught me when I was in the 1st and 2nd standards. My father would ask me questions from the text book, and I would answer them. At that time, I didn’t know he could not read or write but to make me happy, he helped me in my studies!
Another memory that doesn’t go away is the floods in the village and how I was carried on top of a buffalo by my uncle. I also remember plucking fruits from a tree that was full of thorns.
I used to be very naughty, running around and playing all the time with my friends. I used to get a lot of scolding for disturbing the elders who slept in the afternoon. The moment they started scolding, I would run away to the fields!
I also remember finishing my school work fast in class and sleeping on the teacher’s lap!"

The near fatal accident
On January 11, 1993 during the sankranti holidays, Naresh's mother took Naresh and his sister to a nearby village for a family function. From there, they were to go to their native place. As there were no buses that day, Naresh's mother took a lift in her husband's friend’s lorry. As there were many people in the lorry, Naresh was made to sit next to the door.
Unknowingly, Naresh fiddled with the door latch and it opened wide throwing him out. As he fell, his legs got cut by the iron rods protruding from the lorry. Nothing major happened to him except scratches on his legs. The accident had happened just in front of a big private hospital but they refused to treat him saying it was an accident case. Then a police constable who was passing by took them to a government hospital.
First he underwent an operation as his small intestine got twisted. The doctors also bandaged his legs. He was there for a week. When the doctors found that gangrene had developed and it had reached up to his knees, they asked his father to take Naresh to a district hospital. There, the doctors scolded his parents a lot for neglecting the wounds and allowing the gangrene to develop. But what could his ignorant parents do? In no time, both his legs were amputated up to the hips.
"I remember waking up and asking my mother, where are my legs? I also remember that my mother cried when I asked the question."

Life without legs
Naresh doesn’t think his life changed dramatically after he lost both his legs. The day he reached his village, his house was flooded with curious people; all of them wanted to know how a boy without legs looked. Because all at home were doting on him, he was enjoying all the attention rather than pitying himself. He was happy that he got a lot of fruits and biscuits.
‘I never wallowed in self-pity’
He had a normal childhood. He made good friends and had fun. All his friends saw to it that he was part of all the games they played; they carried him everywhere.

When the school was about to reopen, his parents moved from Teeparu to Tanuku, a town, and admitted both of them in a Missionary school. They decided to put his sister also in the same class though she was two years older. They thought she could take care of Naresh if both of them were in the same class. My sister never complained. She would be there for everything. She carried Naresh in the school for a few years and after a while, his friends took over the task. When he got the tricycle, his sister used to push him around in the school.
Naresh was inspired by two people when in school; his Maths teacher Pramod Lal who encouraged him to participate in various local talent tests, and a brilliant boy called Chowdhary, who was his senior.
When he came to know that Chowdhary had joined Gowtham Junior College to prepare for IIT-JEE, it became his dream too. He was school first in 10th scoring 542/600. Because he topped in the state exams, Gowtham Junior College waived the fee for him. The fee was around Rs 50,000 per year, which his parents could never afford.
There, his inspiration was a boy called K K S Bhaskar who was in the top 10 in IIT-JEE exams. He used to come to Naresh's school to encourage them. Though Naresh's parents didn’t know anything about Gowtham Junior School or IIT, they always saw to it that their son was encouraged in whatever he wanted to do. If the results were good, they would praise him to the skies and if bad, they would try to see something good in that. They did not want Naresh to feel bad - an unconditionally loving parent indeed.
He finally cracked the IIT JEE with an All India Rank of 992 and was ranked 4th in the physically handicapped category.

Life in IIT Chennai
His life in IIT Madras was filled with pleasant surprises. He received support from total strangers without asking for it. He once met a man called Sundar in the train, who, moved by his story, took care of his hostel fees. The hospital which treated him during his childhood helped him with his college fees. His department in IIT arranged lift and ramps for him to move freely. His dean, Prof Idichandy and the Students General Secretary, Prasad helped him buy a powered wheel chair. "The world is full of good people", he says with a smile.

His role model at IIT was Karthik who was also his senior in school. Naresh looked up to him during his years at IIT- Madras. Karthik had asked for attached bathrooms for those with special needs before Naresh came. So, when he came, the room had attached bath. In Naresh's words "I evolved as a person in these four years, both academically and personally. It has been a great experience studying here. The people I was interacting with were so brilliant that I felt privileged to sit along with them in the class. Just by speaking to my lab mates, I gained a lot.There are more good people in society than bad ones"

Googling around
Always excelling in his studies and brimming with positivism, he got job offers from Morgan Stanley and Google.
His interest lay in pure computer science, algorithms and game theory; and hence he chose to work with Google. Today he makes everyone proud and proves how with the power of will, nothing is unattainable. 


The lucky guy & God's hand
Ever smiling, optimistic and full of spirit; that is Naresh. 
He says, “God has always been planning things for me. That is why I feel I am lucky.”
He believes that nothing happens without any reason, and everything has something good stored for us.
"I believe in God. I believe in destiny. I feel he plans everything for you. If not for the accident, we would not have moved from the village to Tanuku, a town. There I joined a missionary school, and my father built a house next to the school. Till the tenth standard, I studied in that school. If I had continued in Teeparu, I may not have studied after the 10th. I may have started working as a farmer or someone like that after my studies. I am sure God had other plans for me."

Naresh kept dreaming higher, having complete faith in God and believing that there is good in everything that is happening around. At the same time, he continued to work hard. That's exactly what a dreamer does.

Are you ready to Dream On in life, and get set to lead an extraordinary life? 
Catch hold of this epic story of a dreamer, catch hold of the book.. Dream On.

Like it? Share it then. You may make someone's day or life.

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  1. Manoj ji tears rolled down my cheeks as I was reading this unbelievable article.We the "normal" people always complaining about our life.Life mein ye nahi mila vo nahi mila etc etc.Never satisfied with our life and see this boy.I am truly inspired and will make sure that my daughter read this.Thanks again for an inspiring article Sir.

    1. Yes Paragrenu. It is not what we got. It is what we do with what we got that matters.