[AI] Making it to MIT against odds

Kartik Sawhney sawhney.kartik at gmail.com
Wed Jun 16 07:48:42 EDT 2010

This is Kartik. As is quite evident from my few previous mails, I want
to take up PCM in class XI. However, I am currently facing many such
hurdles. Can I get the contact No. of Srikant so that I can have a
word with him. Your earliest response will be appreciated.

On 6/16/10, Swasti Mathur <swastimathur at gmail.com> wrote:
> hi
> hats off to The Srikant. he is a source of inspiration to hundreds and
> thousands of future students who want to opt for PCM but step back due
> to pulling by the society and many other  circumstances acting like
> non-avalibility of study material. really this boy is geneous.
> may he climb the laddar of success throughout his life. waiting for a
> chance to meet such a brilient guy! and exchange few words.
> regards Swasti
> yogesh dubey wrote:
>> Bolla Srikanth, a visually-challenged boy, is currently pursuing his
>> Bachelor of Sciences at the varsity, says YOGENDRA KALAVALAPALLI
>> Winner: Bolla Srikanth in conversation with National Trust Chairperson
>> Poonam Natarajan during the inaugural function of Abilities Mela 2010
>> in Secunderabad.
>> Bolla Srikanth was barely few years old when many in his community
>> counselled his parents to abandon him. The pressure was heavy on his
>> illiterate parents,
>> a farmer father and housewife mother, but they never yielded. Had they
>> heeded their advice, the world would have been minus one inspiring
>> story today.
>> >From a small village Sitaramapuram near Machlipatnam town in Krishna
>> district, this visually-challenged boy has made it to the portals of
>> the prestigious
>> Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA. The 18-year-old is
>> currently pursuing his Bachelor of Sciences in Brain and Cognitive
>> Science, Business Management
>> and Computer Science at the varsity.
>> “Though they are illiterate, both of them, they had strong will to get
>> me educated. This inspired me,” he says. Shortly after, about 13 years
>> ago, an uncle
>> of his enrolled him in Devnar School for the Blind in Hyderabad, and
>> life took a different spin for Srikanth.
>> “I didn't know anything when I joined school. I was like a rural
>> introvert. I learned everything, I picked up English. I joined
>> community service. Now,
>> I have occupied a place in the society where people are respecting
>> me,” he says, “It has been a long journey.”
>> >From being a “rural introvert”, Srikanth went on to secure 92 per cent
>> in the Class 10 Board Examinations and was a two-time recipient of
>> Pratibha Awards
>> given by the Andhra Pradesh State government for students who excel in
>> public examinations every year.
>> He also received a citation for outstanding community service as Youth
>> Leader in Lead India 2020 from former President APJ Abdul Kalam and
>> was a national
>> chess player playing against the likes of Koneru Humpy.
>> Intermediate was next and he wanted to take up Maths, Physics,
>> Chemistry (MPC) stream to be eligible to study engineering. But a
>> disinclined officialdom
>> was not encouraging. “When I visited the offices for the first time,
>> they said get away from here. Even an IAS officer was not able to
>> realise the potential
>> of blind persons,” he recollects.
>> “After a lot of trouble,” Srikanth finally managed to enrol himself
>> for MPC stream at a private college, a good three months after the
>> classes began. He
>> went on to secure an aggregate percentage of 93 at the end of two years.
>> Challenges persisted still. “When I wanted to prepare for IIT, one
>> coaching centre told me straightaway I was not fit to join them.”
>> Another top institute
>> in the country did not even bother to respond to his application. “I
>> didn't even get my hall ticket. I was not even allowed to write AIEEE.
>> But, I was
>> not disturbed because I was focussed on my goal and I wanted to study
>> Sciences.”
>> Guided by his mentors Swarnalatha, teacher at Devnar School for the
>> Blind and G. Ravishankar, a software consultant in the US, Srikanth
>> realised his ambition
>> of studying at MIT. “Only 120 seats are open for international
>> students for which students from 70 countries in the world fight,” he
>> says proudly of his
>> admission that came with a US $49,000 scholarship.
>> “My mentor Swarnalatha was like a backbone to me in whatever I did so
>> far. She has worked harder than me.” She was by his side throughout:
>> fighting for
>> him, managing his study expenses, recording material for him to study
>> easily and even lodging him in her house during initial days of his
>> Intermediate.
>> Mr. Ravishankar, whom Srikanth met during an international conference
>> at Indian School of Business, helped him apply to different
>> universities abroad. “Because
>> I was a special student, we had to fill up some special forms. He also
>> worked really hard with me for six months. Even now he is in contact
>> and helps me
>> with whatever I want.”
>> Persons with disabilities, he says, suffer from lack of exposure and
>> lack of opportunities. “You have to see where you stand in the
>> society, not as a visually-challenged
>> person but as a human being.” He sings paeans about U.S. “The
>> University is very helpful. They have so many resources. People don't
>> show sympathy there.
>> In fact they provide you opportunities.” He has already finished two
>> semesters at the university (scoring 5/5 GPA) and currently is
>> interning with GE in
>> Hyderabad.
>> Srikanth is keen on entrepreneurship and plans to launch a software
>> firm after his course where he wants to give opportunities to rural
>> youth. “My life
>> ambition is to become the president of India,” he declares. Given the
>> flak he has received so far and the grit with which he has overcome
>> them all, don't
>> dismiss him. Not yet, not so fast!
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