Inspiring story of vegetable seller who built hospital for poor

Subhashini Mistry lives in a village called Hanspukur just about 20 Km south of the city of Kolkata. Misfortune dogged Subhashini Mistry from the moment of her birth. She was born during the Bengal famine that drove impoverished farmers to starvation and death across the countryside.

Her father, a marginal farmer who owned a tiny patch of land in Kulwa village about 30 kms south west of Kolkata, was unable to feed his 14 children. Her mother scoured the land, begging for rice from the churches, ashrams, NGOs, government offices and landlords of the area. Over the next few years, seven of the children died.

At 12, Subhashini was married off to Sadhan Chandra Mistry, an agricultural worker who lived in Hanspukur village.. He earned Rs.200 a month. In 1971, he was working on small farms on a daily wage basis. During the off-season, he served and washed utensils in his village tea-stall. He supported his family of five- his wife Subhasini and four children, frequently on earnings that amounted to less than one rupee a day. The Mistry family lived in a thatched house in Hanspukur – a village in the 24 Parganas district on the outskirts of Kolkatta.

Disaster struck in 1971. One particular cropping season, the rains were exceptionally heavy in Kolkatta. Her husband Sadhan fell ill while working on the paddy farm. He had diaorrhea, but Subhasini did not know what to do. There was no money in the house. Her husband began writhing in pain and she rushed him to the district hospital in Tollygunge, Kolkata. The anxiety over her husband’s deteriorating condition gave way to horror as she realized that the doctors and nurses refused to pay any attention to him because he was penniless. This government hospital was mandated to provide free service to the poor. But reality was that patients needed either money or connections to get treatment. After remaining ill for three days, he succumbed to the disease, and died of dehydration. Poverty and callous hospital staff had killed her husband.

But that was only the beginning of Subhashini’s torment. She became a widow at 23. Her husband was the sole breadwinner of the family. She was poor and illiterate with four small frightened, hungry children to raise. Subhashini struggled to make ends meet, cooking and cleaning all day long for her family. Her parents and brothers were so poor, they could barely support themselves.

Subhashini made an oath that fateful day. No one should suffer her fate. She vowed she would do what it takes to spare people of this nightmare. She would build a hospital for the poor.

She only knew housework, so she started working as a maid servant in five houses nearby, earning a total of Rs.100 a month.


Mistry told IANS: “When my husband passed away, I was in shock initially. Then I realised I had four hungry mouths to feed. My oldest child, a son, was four-and-a-half-years old at the time. My youngest, a daughter, was one-and-a-half.

“I had no education and couldn’t even tell the time. So I decided I would do whatever work that was available. I started out as an aayah (domestic help) in the nearby houses.”

” I don’t regret that I had to put two of my children in an orphanage, that I couldn’t educate them. There were things needed to be done for the greater good.”

She recalls: “There is no work my hands have not done. I have cooked, mopped floors, washed utensils, cleaned gardens, polished shoes, concreted roofs.” Her son Ajoy was a good student. She sent him to an orphanage in Kolkata so he could get a decent education. The other three children helped her with housework.

Soon she discovered she could pick vegetables that grew on the wayside in Dhapa village and sell them. She realized that selling vegetables would fetch more money than doing other people’s housework. So she and her children moved to Dhapa village where she rented a hut for Rs.5 a month. She began selling vegetables in Dhapa village, and gradually, as her business grew, she headed for Kolkata. She set up her wayside stall on bridge Number Four in Park Circus in central Kolkata. She started earning about Rs.500 a month. She spent nothing on herself and little on her children, except for Ajoy’s education.

Two of my sons worked in a tea stall. We survived on boiled rice for years. I couldn’t even send them to school,” Subhashini recalled. “I knew my children had to go to school and at least one had to be a doctor, or else my dream would never come true.” She said. In the meantime, her children grew up. The two daughters were married off. The eldest son chose to be a labourer, working in agricultural fields. Her other son, the youngest of the lot, Ajoy Mistry was identified by Subhasini to carry on her mission. He was a brilliant student even as he grew up in a children’s home.

“My mother could not afford to send me to school. But she wanted us to study seriously, which we did. I was initially not keen on taking up medicine. In fact, I studied chemistry because I felt that was my subject,” said Ajoy.

Ajoy changed track, too, and in 1990,he successfully completed his secondary education and passed the All India Medical Entrance Test. Aided by the German Scholarship, he joined Calcutta Medical College where he completed his medical course. He graduated a year before the foundation stone for Humanity Hospital was laid.

Subhashini had not given up on her dream. She was determined to build that hospital. She put aside the majority of what she earned and after around 30 years she had collected enough to buy a plot of land. One of the babus (landlords) was selling off his land. I went to him and fell at his feet to let me buy the plot for a lesser amount.He relented and finally a part of my dream came true,” said Mistry.In 1992, she bought one acre of land in her husband’s village, Hanspukur, for Rs.10,000

She gathered the villagers and told them of her plan. She would donate her one acre land for the hospital, but the villagers would have to donate money to build a thatched shed that could serve as a dispensary for the poor.

The public donation totalled Rs.926. Some villagers contributed in kind providing bamboos, palm leaves, truckloads of earth, wooden planks. The poorest offered their labour. Thus, a 20 feet by 20 feet temporary shed was constructed in 1993.


In 1993, the hospital was started from a thatched shed on a one acre land bought by Subhasini from her lifelong savings. In 1993, Ajoy Mistry authored the trust deed of Humanity Trust with his mother Subhasini Mistry as the co-founder trustee.

Then an auto rickshaw fitted with a loudspeaker plied the countryside over a 10 km radius, pleading with doctors to offer their free service at the newly opened Hanspukur shed at least once a week for the poor and needy. Simultaneously, villagers went from door to door urging residents to donate their surplus medicines.

The first doctor to respond to the call was Dr.Raghupathy Chatterjee. Five others followed in rapid succession – a general physician, paediatrician, orthopedic, ophthalmologist and a homeopath. Each one of them offered free service, ranging from two to four hours a week. On the very first day, 252 patients were treated. Humanity hospital, as the little shed was named, never looked back.

Not that the going was easy. Monsoon was pure hell. There was knee deep water inside the shed. The patients had to be treated on the road. So it was decided to build a concrete roof covering a 1,000 sq feet area. This required much more money.

Ajoy knocked on the door of the local Member of Parliament, Malini Bhattacharya. At first, he made no headway. The door remained firmly shut. But he persisted. Bit by bit, the door opened and finally he managed to meet the MP and explain his mother’s goal.

Over a period of time, he won her over and after seeing with her own eyes Subhashini’s single minded devotion to her charitable work, Malini supported the Humanity Hospital whole heartedly. She helped them to raise sufficient funds and so the foundation stone was laid in 1993. Not a single reporter attended the event.

However, after the hospital was constructed, with Malini’s and the local MLA’s help, Subhashini was able to get the governor of West Bengal to inaugurate it. The governor’s presence ensured the presence of a flock of reporters. The media coverage had a healthy fall out – a trickle, though not a torrent, of donations, followed.

A group of trustees – including doctors, eminent local citizens and serving IPS officers guided the hospital, which has now expanded to include gynecology, cardiology, ENT, urology, oncology, diabetology and surgery. They now have 3 acres of land and the hospital has expanded to 9,000 sq feet spread over two floors.

Through all this growth, Subhashini was clear about her goal. This was a hospital for the poor. This was not a business. Yet, she knew that the hospital had to be self sufficient. It cannot survive forever on donations.

So while the poor got free treatment, those who lived above poverty line had to pay Rs.10 for consultation. Still, this is not sufficient to cover the day to day expense of running a hospital. “There is a perpetual shortage of funds. We live from month to month,” reveals Ajoy.

How did she achieve all this? She says: “Inner Strength.” She adds with rustic wisdom: “God in his infinite grace gave me a vision at the darkest moment in my life. From then on, my life had a purpose. I used whatever strength God gave me to make sure other poor people did not lose their loved ones for lack of medical attention.”

With her son Ajoy at the helm of the hospital, the doughty Subhashini went back to doing what she knew best – selling vegetables, back at Bridge Number 4. She still lives in the same house. Her elder daughter and son too sell vegetables. Her youngest daughter has become a nurse and works in the hospital.

Three years ago, Ajoy persuaded her to stop selling vegetables. She was getting old; her knees were giving her trouble. She now tends the sick in the hospital. Says she: “This hospital means everything to me. It is my wealth, my knowledge, my happiness.”

But her mission is not yet over. Says she: “Only when this hospital becomes a full-fledged 24-hour hospital can I die happy.”

The multi-specialty ‘Humanity Hospital’ has a total floor space of 15,000 sq. ft, with two fully equipped operation theatres and 30 beds. There are 22 visiting doctors in the hospital. The hospital treats about 1000 patients per month. Nobody is refused treatment. And no money is ever asked for. Subhashini and Ajoy spend more than 16 hours at the hospital every day.

Subhashini’s story is a staggering account of what human will can achieve, of indomitable spirit, of a rise, phoenix like.

(Extract from the book ‘Unsung’ by Anita Pratap and Mahesh Bhat), Source: the weekend leader

View these videos to know more about her inspiring life

Visit the website of Humanity Hospital for more information.

Published in: on April 20, 2014 at 5:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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How Beethoven overcame his deafness to become a great composer?

Ludwig Van Beethoveen was born in 1770 in Bonn, Germany as the son of a court musician. At a very early age, Beethoven received violin and piano lessons from his father Johann.

He suffered a tragic childhood. His father was an alcoholic and often abused him. Johann would force Ludwig to practice all of the time, and when Beethoven would make a mistake he would slam the piano cover on his knuckles and make him play it over again. His childhood and adolescence were difficult due to his father’s harsh discipline and alcoholism.

At the age of 8, he studied theory and keyboard with van den Eeden (former chapel organist). He also studied with several local organists, received piano lessons from Tobias Friedrich Pfeiffer, and Franz Rovantini gave him violin and viola lessons. Although Beethoven’s musical genius was compared to that of Mozart’s, his education never exceeded elementary level.

Ludwig van Beethoven was told by one of his teachers that he had no future career as a composer. Little did he know that Beethoven would go on to be one of the greatest classical music composers of all time.

imagesCAV45F4QBeethoven gave his first public appearance (playing piano) when he was eight and had his first piece of music published by the time he was 12 years old.

His father Johann was increasingly becoming worse and worse with his drinking and lost his job as a tenor at the Electoral court. Beethoven, realizing that he now had to support himself and his brothers, sought work, and by 1782 he served as deputy organist when Christian Neefe (Court Organist) took leave. By this time, Beethoven was already composing works and was considered to be a piano virtuoso, and the next year, Ludwig was hired as orchestral harpsichordist at the court.

As a teen, he performed more than he composed. In 1787, Neefe sent him to Vienna and he met and briefly studied with Mozart. Two weeks later, he returned home because his mother had tuberculosis. She died in July. His father took to drink, and Beethoven, only 19, petitioned to be recognized as the head of the house; he received half of his father’s salary to support his family.

In 1792, Beethoven relocated to Vienna. This is the beginning of his early period which lasted roughly until 1800. During this time Beethoven quickly made a name for himself as a virtuoso pianist. He used his abilities at the piano to gain favour with the nobility. His compositions during this period consisted mainly of works for his main instrument, the piano. An example of a piece composed during this time is the Pathétique Sonata, Op. 13 (1798).

Beethoven really didn’t have a steady job. He made most of his money by playing the piano in Salons at gatherings and giving piano lessons to wealthy students. Basically, Beethoven was one of the first freelance composers in Vienna. Beethoven quickly gained popularity in the Vienna court and in the town. He often challenged people to test their musical ability.

Once establishing himself, he began composing more. In 1800, he performed his first symphony and a septet (op. 20). Publishers soon began to compete for his newest works.

It is relevant at this time to include a few words about Beethoven’s compositional processes. Mozart was able to get on a train, a few hours later get off with a whole opera composed in his head. Beethoven couldn’t do that. In fact every phrase, every note was like pulling teeth. Beethoven never had less than one composition going on at the same time. He used sketch books to write down his ideas when they flew into his head, before he forgot them. Even after he had an idea, he had to work it out just right. What resulted was a mess of erasures and scribbles on a piece of paper that a copyist would later have to decipher.

He began hearing buzzing noises around 1796. He began losing his hearing around 1798. By 1801, however, he had lost 60% of his hearing and became a social recluse because, as a musician and composer, he hated to tell people he was going deaf. By 1816, his hearing loss was nearly 100%.

At first the malady was intermittent or so faint that it worried him only occasionally. But by 1801 he reported that a whistle and a buzz was constant. Low speech tones became an unintelligible hum, shouting became an intolerable din. Apparently the illness completely swamped delicate sounds and distorted strong ones. He may have had short periods of remission, but for the last ten years of his life he was totally deaf.

He was very upset by this so much so that he thought of ending his life. Beethoven’s social life was affected the most. He is said to have had sudden bursts of anger, insulting those around him. As his hearing became worse, Beethoven went into seclusion from both the public and his friends. He only communicated with visitors and trusted friends by writing.

He even considered suicide because of his deafness and his inability to perform at public concerts which were a great source of money. After all, Beethoven too was a human.

Beethoven lost his hearing and went deaf but continued to compose music. Hard to believe? It’s completely true!

immortalbelovedAfter he became deaf, he started to observe the vibrations of piano. Beethovan noticed that he could not hear high notes when playing piano. To hear his own compositions, he sawed the legs off of his piano and placed the piano on the floor, and pressed his ear to the floor as well. He would then proceed to bang on the keys, to hear what he had written.

The important thing is that Beethoven did not give up and realized that he had to face the truth and continue living his dream of composing music. Even Beethoven’s deafness was not enough to be an obstacle large enough to block his path of success.

Determined to overcome his disability, he wrote symphonies 2, 3, and 4 before 1806. The late period saw the compositions of Beethoven’s largest works: the Mass in D (Missa Solemnis), Op. 123 (1818-23), the 9th Symphony (Choral), Op. 125 (1818-23), the Hammerklavier Sonata, Op. 106 (1818), and the late string quartets.

Beethoven’s fame began to pay off; he soon found himself prosperous. His symphonic works proved to be master pieces along with his other works,

In 1809, however, his musical output began to drop, possibly in connection to his declining health and mental state. Around 1815 the famous Immortal Beloved affair occured which left Beethoven in deep depression and contemplating suicide. Beethoven loved a woman named Fanny, but never married.

Beethoven’s output was mostly null until 1818. At this point he was completely deaf and slightly mad. Also his brother died leaving Beethoven’s only nephew, Karl, in the guardianship of his mother. Now Beethoven felt that she was not fit to raise Karl, so he entered into a vicious lawsuit over custody of the child. For the most part he was able to use his influence with the aristocracy to win the battle. Unfortunately Beethoven was not a fit father and his relationship with Karl was quite poor, driving him to an suicide attempt a few years later. Beethoven loved Karl dearly, and the pain of his failed attempts to teach Karl music must have been devastating for Beethoven. It’s often speculated that Karl was probably a strong contributor to Beethoven’s late style.

Beethoven was seriously ill. In 1827, he died of dropsy at the age of 56.

To many, Beethoven represents the highest level of musical genius keeping in mind composers such as: Bach, Mozart, Handel, and Haydn. Beethoven’s life was very productive, given that he had no formal education past the 5th grade, and of all of his hardships in which he had to deal with.

Beethoven saw his deafness as a challenge to be fought and overcome. His stubborn nature strengthened him and he came to terms with his deafness in a dynamic, constructive way to become world famous composer.

    Quotes of Beethoven

“I will take fate by the throat; it will never bend me completely to its will.”

“Recommend to your children virtues, that alone can make them happy, not gold.”

“Then let us all do what is right, strive with all our might toward the unattainable, develop as fully as we can the gifts God has given us, and never stop learning”

“To play without passion is inexcusable!”

“This is the mark of a really admirable man: steadfastness in the face of trouble.”

Beethoven speaking to royalty: “What you are, you are by accident of birth; what I am, I am by myself. There are and will be a thousand princes; there is only one Beethoven.”

“The barriers are not erected which can say to aspiring talents and industry, “Thus far and no farther.”

Success story of Sanders who started KFC at age of 65 yrs

Harland Sanders was born September 9, 1890 near Henryville, Indiana. His father Wilbur David was a mild and affectionate man who tried to make a living as a farmer on the 80 acres of land that he owned, but after a fall he broke his leg and had to give up his profession. He worked as a butcher in Henryville for the next two years. One summer afternoon in 1895, he came home with a fever and died later that day.

Sanders’ mother obtained work in a tomato-canning factory. Young Harland had to take care of his three-year-old brother and baby sister and the young Harland was required to look after and cook for his siblings.He picked up the art of cooking very quickly and mastered many dishes by the age of 7.

Sanders dropped out of school when he was 13. He went to live and work on a nearby farm for $2 a month. He then took a job painting horse carriages in Indianapolis. When he was 14 he moved to southern Indiana to work as a farmhand for two years. In 1906, with his mother’s approval, he left home to live with his uncle in New Albany, Indiana. His uncle worked for the street car company and got Sanders a job as a conductor.

Sanders married Josephine King in 1909 and started a family, but after his boss fired him for insubordination while he was on a trip, Josephine stopped writing him letters. He then learned that Josephine had left him, given away all their furniture and household goods, and taken the children back to her parents’ home. Josephine’s brother wrote Sanders a letter saying, “She had no business marrying a no-good fellow like you who can’t hold a job.”

In 1909 Sanders found work with the Norfolk and Western Railway. He then found work as a fireman on the Illinois Central Railroad, and he and his family moved to Jackson, Tennessee. Meanwhile, Sanders studied law by correspondence at night through the La Salle Extension University. Sanders lost his job at Illinois after brawling with a work colleague. After a while, Sanders began to practice law in Little Rock for three years, and he earned enough fees for his family to move with him. His legal career ended after he got engaged in a courtroom brawl with his own client.

After that, Sanders moved back with his mother in Henryville, and went to work as a labourer on the Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1916, the family moved to Jeffersonville, where Sanders got a job selling life insurance for the Prudential Life Insurance Company. Sanders was eventually fired for insubordination. He moved to Louisville and got a salesman job with Mutual Benefit Life of New Jersey.

In 1920, Sanders established a ferry boat company, which operated a river boat between Jeffersonville and Louisville. The ferry was an instant success. He then got a job as secretary at the Columbus, Indiana Chamber of Commerce. He admitted to not being very good at the job, and resigned after less than a year. Sanders cashed in his ferry boat company shares for $ 22,000 and used the money to establish a company manufacturing acetylene lamps. The venture failed after Delco introduced an electric lamp that they sold on credit.

Sanders moved to Winchester, Kentucky, to work as a salesman for the Michelin Tyre Company. In 1924, Michelin closed their tyre factory, and Sanders lost his job. In 1924, by chance, he met the state manager for Standard Oil, who asked him to run a service station in Nicholasville. In 1930, the station closed as a result of the Great Depression.

In 1930, the Shell Oil Company offered Sanders a service station in Corbin,Kentucky rent free, whereby he paid them a percentage of sales. Sanders began to cook chicken dishes and other meals such as country ham and steaks for customers. Since he did not have a restaurant, he served customers in his adjacent living quarters. He was commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel in 1935 by Kentucky governor Ruby Laffoon.

In July 1939 Sanders acquired a motel in Asheville, North Carolina. His Corbin restaurant and motel was destroyed in a fire in November 1939, and Sanders had it rebuilt as a motel with a 142 seat restaurant.

imagesCA8UECIDDuring his search to make the perfect chicken, he was approached by a pressure cooker salesman who convinced Sanders to invest in this product to quicken his cooking process. He ended up investing in 12 pressure cookers. Somewhere around this time, Sanders also ended up reaching his trademark 11 herbs and spices. By July 1940, Sanders had finalized his “Secret Recipe” for frying chicken in a pressure fryer that cooked the chicken faster than pan frying.

As World War II broke out, gas was rationed, and as the tourists dried up, Sanders was forced to close his Asheville motel. He went to work as a restaurant supervisor in Seattle until the latter part of 1942. He later ran cafeterias for the government at an Ordinance Works in Tennessee, followed by a job as an assistant manager at a cafeteria in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

During 1950, Sanders had to shut down his restaurant business because a new highway was being built where his restaurant was located. Colonel Sanders decided to retire and lived off of $105 in the form of social security checks. Not wanting to accept this as his fate, he decided to franchise his chicken at the age of 65.

At an age when he should have been enjoying the relaxed life style of a retired person, he could not live his life without a goal. He was neither a Harvard graduate nor came from a very rich family.He knew how to fry chicken that was juicy inside and crisp outside. He took the recipe and approached many restaurants. Several hoteliers turned him away, without even reading his recipe! But he did not lose heart. He did not give up his efforts. He went to many cities and gave his recipe to other hoteliers. Aged he was, he climbed the steps of many restaurants. Total number of restaurants he approached was 1,006! He was the personification of perseverance.

For two long years, he continued his relentless efforts and finally one hotelier evinced some interest in his recipe. The rest is history.

In 1952, Harland had a chance meeting with a Peter Harman, who owned Harman’s Cafe in Salt Lake City, Utah, another popular, and famous eating place. And Peter was a skilled business man. As a result of this meeting, a business relationship was established, and Peter convinced Harland to cash in his social security cheques to start a franchise for chickens coated in Harland’s recipe. In the first year of selling the product, restaurant sales more than tripled, with 75% of the increase coming from sales of fried chicken.

By 1964, Colonel Sanders had more than 600 franchised outlets for his chicken in the United States and Canada. That year, he sold his interest in the U.S. company for $2 million to a group of investors.

Now, the Kentucky Fried Chicken business he started has grown to be one of the largest retail food service systems in the world. Colonel Sanders, a quick service restaurant pioneer, has become a symbol of entrepreneurial spirit.

It’s amazing how the man started at the age of 65, when most retire, and built a global empire out of fried chicken. Age is no barrier to success, and so is capital. What is needed is an idea put into action, followed with proper planning and persistency.

The story of Colonel Harland Sanders is inspirational because it’s an example of how perseverance, dedication, and ambition along with hard work can create success regardless of age.

Quotes Of Sanders

“I just say the moral out of my life is don’t quit at age 65, may be your boat hasn’t come in yet. Mine hadn’t.

Attitude is more important than mere dry facts. Colonel Sanders has an attitude of ‘I Can’ rather ‘I can’t’.

“I’ve only had two rules: Do all you can and do it the best you can. It’s the only way you ever get that feeling of accomplishing something.”

“You got to like your work. You have got to like what you are doing, you have got to be doing something worthwhile so you can like it – because it is worthwhile, that it makes a difference.”

“I never limited myself to serving gas. I also repaired flat tyres that customers left at the station. The service station was open until 9 o’clock, then when I closed I repaired the inner tubes. Sometimes I didn’t finish working until 1 or 2 o’clock in the morning. Then I opened again at 5 a.m. Most gas stations didn’t open until 7, and I sold more gas between 5 and 7 in the morning than the other stations sold all day.”

“Have ambition to work, willingness to work and integrity in what you do.”

“People will rust out quicker than they’ll ever wear out, and I’ll be darned if I’ll ever rust out.”

Lessons-from Sanders

1. Failure is temporary

For much of his long life, Harland Sanders was a failure. He was fired from most of the jobs he held in his 20s and 30s. He didn’t even start his first business until he was 39, an age that’s considered over-the-hill for many tech founders. His first restaurant, started out of the back of a gas station, eventually failed and left him broke at 65.

Even with no money, the Colonel knew what to do in the face of failure: to press on. He raised some seed funding — his social security check — and drove around Kentucky, sleeping in his car, franchising his chicken recipe. Less than ten years later, at the age of 74, he sold the company for 2 million dollars.

2. Create a personal brand

Steve Jobs had his black turtleneck. Mark Zuckerberg has his hoodie. Colonel Sanders bested them both with his white suit.Sanders knew the importance of his personal brand which he started developing in 1950. He personified his company’s brand in his own persona, as the friendly, down home Southern gentleman who was “mighty proud” for you to try his “finger lickin’ good” fried chicken. In the last 20 years of his life, he was never seen in public without his trademark white suit and black western tie. When he died in 1980, he was buried in the suit.

When you get up in the morning, remember that what you choose to wear says a lot about who you are and what type of company you want to create. The Colonel knew this better than anyone.

3. Become an icon

Today, a majority of Americans 18 to 25 don’t know Colonel Sanders was a real person. Some didn’t even know his name when shown the logo of the company now known as “KFC.” But Harland Sanders wasn’t a made-up icon, he was a real person. He was an actual Kentucky colonel. He spent his life failing, trying again, and failing again, to finally succeed when most of us would have given up long before. He built a personal brand that lives to this day. Even in the high tech world of tech start ups, there’s a lot to admire about the Colonel.

View this video to know more about his inspiring life.

Inspiring story of an invalid who became the fastest runner

Glenn Cunningham was born in Atlanta, Kansas on August 4, 1909. His father, Clint Cunningham, was a water-well driller who also did odd jobs.

At the age of 7, Cunningham and his older brother Floyd were badly burned in a schoolhouse fire.

The little country schoolhouse was heated by an old-fashioned, pot-bellied coal stove. Glenn Cunningham had the job of coming to school early each day so that he could use kerosene to start the fire and warm the room before his teacher and his classmates arrived. One cold morning someone had mistakenly filled the kerosene container he used with gasoline, and disaster struck.

The students arrived to find the schoolhouse engulfed in flames. Terrified on realizing that Glenn was inside, they rushed in and managed to drag the unconscious little boy out of the flaming building. He had major burns over the lower half of his body and was taken to a nearby county hospital.

From his bed, the dreadfully burned, semi-conscious little boy faintly heard the doctor talking to his mother. The doctor told his mother that her son would surely die as the terrible fire had devastated the lower half of his body.

But the brave boy didn’t want to die. Glenn made up his mind that he would survive. And somehow, to the amazement of the physician, he did survive. Yet when the mortal danger was past, he again heard the doctor and his mother speaking quietly. The mother was told that since the fire had destroyed so much flesh in the lower part of his body, it would almost be better if he had died, since he was doomed to be a life time cripple with no use at all of his lower limbs. His mother refused to let the doctors amputate.

The doctors told him and his parents that he would never walk normally again. However, Glenn and his family refused to accept such claims and with much determination and unwavering faith, he would not only walk, but run, and very fast.

Once more this brave little boy made up his mind. He would not be a cripple. He would walk. But unfortunately from the waist down, Glenn had no motor ability. His thin, scarred legs just dangled there, all but lifeless.

But although he did survive, the effects of the fire had clearly taken their toll: the arches on both of his feet were damaged, the toes on his left foot were nearly burned off, and his right leg was a few inches shorter than his left one. Doctor wondered if he would ever walk again, but a determined Glenn went home and began steadily rehabilitating his injuries.

Ultimately Glenn was released from the hospital. Every day afterward his mother and father would massage his little legs, but there was no feeling, no control, nothing. Yet his determination that he would walk was as strong as ever.

When he wasn’t in bed, he was confined to a wheelchair. One sunny day his mother wheeled him out into the yard to get some fresh air. This day, instead of sitting there, he threw himself from the chair. Glenn pulled himself across the grass, dragging his legs behind him.

He worked his way to the white picket fence bordering their lot. With great effort, he raised himself up on the fence. Then, stake by stake, he began dragging himself along the fence, resolved that he would walk.He started to do this every day until he wore a smooth path all around the yard beside the fence. There was nothing he wanted more than to develop life in those legs.

After weeks of practice, he gained a minor victory when he walked with crutches. Several months later, he was able to stand on his own. And nine months after that, he could once again walk without crutches.

It was Glenn’s determination and persistence that led him to walk again.Slowly over a period of months, Glenn’s legs began to function, to the astonishment of the doctors.Christmas eve 1917, Glenn gave his mother a present by taking his first steps without holding onto anything. Soon, he proceeded to run, grabbing a milk cow or mule’s tail, taking as much weight off his legs and running behind as the animals headed to water. He still couldn’t straighten out his right leg. Every step was “like daggers,” but he never quit trying. In time Glenn discovered that it was less painful to run than to walk.

Ultimately through his daily massages, Glenn’s iron persistence and his resolute determination, he did develop the ability first to stand up, then to walk haltingly with help, then to walk by himself – and then miraculously – to run.

Well, he actually started doing something more akin to hopping fast than running. But before long, young Glenn Cunningham was known throughout the community for his running. Because he ran everywhere.He once said, “I didn’t move 10 feet without breaking into a run. I ran and ran and ran.”

Strangely enough, however, although walking caused him great pain, running hardly hurt at all. And so, as Glenn would later remark, “For five or six years, about all I did was run.”

His legs remained deeply scarred, however. Throughout his life, he would have to massage them and spend time doing long warm-up exercises in order to maintain circulation. In addition, his injuries meant that he could never run smoothly or efficiently; he compensated with endurance and strength.

Glenn said this about his first race “My father was definitely against athletic events. He just didn’t see the need for it. But I decided to enter a competition. I just didn’t tell anybody at home. I showed up at the track meet in my workclothes and thick-soled canvas sneakers. I was a fourth grader, and most of the others were high school athletes. All of them wore running shorts and spiked running shoes. I must have looked like David lined up against all the giants, but I won going away! I ended up getting a whipping from my father that evening when I got home.” Decades later, he would call that race the biggest of his life—a monumental statement considering the races to come in his future.

By the time he reached high school, Glenn was a solid multi-sport athlete, competing in football, basketball, and track, despite the fact that he required long extensive warm-ups before any athletic activities due to the various circulation problems caused by his childhood accident.

Preparing_to_Invade_the_East_JPEG_RT_for_Print-184x273Later in college Glenn made the track team where his tremendous determination paid off. He eventually received the nickname the “Kansas Flyer.”

He competed in both the 1932 Summer Olympics as well as the 1936 Summer Olympics.In the 1932 Olympics he took 4th place in the 1500 m, and in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, he took silver in the 1500 meters.
An athlete who survived severe burns on his legs as a youth, Glenn Cunningham was one of the world’s top middle distance runners during the 1930s, winning the prestigious Sullivan Award in 1933 as the nation’s top amateur athlete.

In 1934, he set the world record for the mile run at 4:06.8, which stood for three years. In 1936, he set the world record in the 800 m run. In 1938, he set a world record in the indoor mile run of 4:04.4. He retired from competition in 1940.

In 1933, Cunningham graduated from the University with the highest academic record in his class.Cunningham went on to graduate school at the University of Kansas, then earned a master’s degree from the University of Iowa in 1936, and a Ph.D. in physical education from New York University in 1940.

He taught physical education at Cornell University from 1940 to 1944, and later joined the Navy, where he attained the lieutenant rank, helped create physical training programs in several Navy stations, and visited many military hospitals in order to encourage wounded soldiers.

Cunningham married Ruth Sheffield, in the summer of 1947. Although he might have used his name as a star athlete to make a great deal of money, he was more interested in helping others than in making a fortune. He and his wife opened the Glenn Cunningham Youth Ranch and over the next three decades, raised over 10,000 foster children.

He had a positive attitude as well as a strong religious faith. His favourite Bible verse was Isaiah 40:31: “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

Glenn Cunningham went from possibly never walking normally again to holding world records at the Olympics for the USA. Those kinds of achievements would not happen without extreme will power and faith.

Quotes of Glenn Cunningham

“As long as you believe you can do things, they’re not impossible.”

“ I think it was at that very moment that I made one of the biggest decisions of my life. I’m NOT going to be an invalid! I remember saying over and over, “I will walk! I will walk!”

“ My family was wonderful. I can’t even imagine how horrible it must have been with all the smells and the sight of my rotting flesh. I had lost all the flesh on my knees and shins, as well as all the toes on my left foot. My transverse arch was mostly gone. Yet my family kept changing the dressings and massaging my legs, though there was little muscle left to massage. Even after I was able to stand, holding onto either the bed or a chair, a neighbor kid said, “Aw, you ain’t nevergonna walk again!” But by then I knew that nothing was going to stop me.”

“My Mother and Father had always brought us up to never complain. I was asked to do a lot of speeches through the years, and I often talked about overcoming challenges, but I just always figured that I needed to do my best and never quit. Complaining about something I had no control over would have diminished what I was trying to do. I just wanted to let my running speak for itself.”

“In running it is man against himself, the cruelest of opponents. The other runners are not the real enemies. His adversary lies within him, in his ability with brain and heart to master himself and his emotions”

Glenn shared the never-quit philosophy that was the framework of his own successes, including these gems:

• If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.
• Belief influences action, and action influences belief.
• Act as if it were impossible to fail.
• Every great accomplishment started with a thought.

View this video to see Glenn Cunningham in action.

Inspiring story Of China’s ‘Basketball Girl – Qian Hongyan

Qian Hongyan suffered horrific injuries in a car crash when she was three years old in 2000 and doctors had to amputate her legs to ensure her survival.

Hongyan’s family in Zhuangxia, China wasn’t wealthy enough to provide her with hi-tech equipment to help her walk, so they gave her half a basketball to help her move. Hongyan used brushes as low-level crutches. The handicapped Chinese girl Qian Hongyan used to crawl with two home-made props and part of a basketball at Zhuangxia Village in Luliang County of Qujing City, Yunnan Province, China She was able to travel to and from home and school by bouncing on the basketball. She struggled for five years like this.untitled

These pictures, taken in 2005 when Qian was just ten, show how. Qian learned to walk on her hands, using a basketball cut in half to steady herself. According to Xinhua news agency, she was dubbed “basketball girl” by locals

The girl’s story was widely reported in the media and experts from China Rehabilitation Research Center decided to help her for rehabilitative treatment during early 2005.Qian now has a pair of proper prosthetic legs, but still says she likes to use the basketball from time to time as it is easier for her to get in and out of the pool with.

When the seventh national special sports-meeting was held in Kunming in May 2007, Qian Hongyan went to watch the games every day and seeing the handicapped players struggle in the matches deeply moved her.

Qian Hongyan was naturally worried about floating when she tried swimming for the first time. But Qian Hongyan was determined to join in the special swimming club. She and her parents went to consult the opportunity with Zhang Honghu, a well known coach who has trained many handicapped swimming champions. Then, QianHongyan began her life in the swimming club and did professional swimming training.

At first, Zhang didn’t pay much attention to Qian Hongyan. “The individual’s capability is important in choosing a player,” he said. “Qian Hongyan doesn’t have legs. It seems that if a ship has no helm, then the ship could not work well for lack of a sense of direction.” In order to solve the problem, Zhang made a special training plan for Qian Hongyan to help balance the shoulders.She always does the exercises and sit-ups, dumbbells and so on carefully. Qian Hongyan swims for about 2000 metres in a day.

imagesCAJQ1GY8“I had to give much more than other kids when I learned to swim,” Qian said. “It seemed there was no way I could float in the water. I was choked.” It took her several weeks to get used to the water, but once she did Qian discovered she has a real talent for swimming. “It’s so free and relaxing to swim,””You can go anywhere you want and it is much freer than on the ground.” she said.

“Qian Hongyan studies hard. She never grouches in training although she was confronted with many difficulties at the beginning, ” her coach said. After a short period, to Zhang’s surprise, he found that Hongyan was gifted in swimming. Zhang said, “I couldn’t ensure she would be a world champion. However, I can tell that she is definitely a promising swimmer. Our biggest wish is to train her to have a positive attitude to life.” Qian Hongyan’s dream is to become a world champion. She works hard to achieve her dream.

Now 18 years old, she returned to the China Rehabilitation Centre in Beijing for her adult prosthetics.

images1She touched the hearts of millions of people around the world and is fondly referred to as the ” Basketball Girl”. Qian Hongyan though differently abled has big dreams. The accident may have robbed her of her legs but certainly not her spirit. She has plenty of courage and determination and is indeed a great inspiration to all the differently abled people around the globe. Watch this video to know about her inspiring success story.

Published in: on October 16, 2013 at 4:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Inspiring Success of students in CA examination

There is a general opinion that it is very difficult to pass Chartered Accountancy (C.A.) examination conducted by Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. The average passing percentage is around 15 %. Few students also discontinue the course after finding it very difficult to pass the examination.

It is touching to know about success stories of students who have passed CA examination after overcoming several obstacles. This article shares few inspiring stories of success of students in CA examination. These stories will inspire aspiring students to achieve similar success in the examination.

    India’s first Visually challenged CA

Several students with normal health struggle to pass the examination despite the best of professional coaching and excellent support provided by their family. It is inspiring to know that Ranjani Gopal, a visually challenged girl has cleared the exam during 2002 to become India’s first visually challenged woman to pass CA examination.


She was prescribed penicillin tablets for common cold by a doctor when she was nine years old. This was given without test dosage and this resulted in an allergic reaction which in medical terminology is known as “Steven Johnson Syndrome”. Her vision started deteriorating gradually and she lost her vision in right eye by the time she completed B.Com degree course.

She found it difficult to get a job due to her disability. She thought of pursuing CA course to improve her chances for getting a job. With lot of determination she joined CA course as there is not much need to attend regular classes like other courses. She started using the screen reading software and learnt how to use computers. She got all the materials converted to soft copy and started studying in a focussed manner. After facing lot of difficulties, she successfully passed the CA examination and is now well placed in a reputed firm.

RanjaniGopal has proved that it is possible to pass the CA examination if one prepares in a focussed manner in spite of any physical handicap. When a physically challenged person passes the tough course, no excuse can be accepted from a person enjoying normal health.

Visit this link to know how her inspiring success story.

Office boy who became CA

Students also blame financial problems as an excuse for not passing the CA examination after several attempts. They claim that they are not able to afford specialised coaching provided by reputed coaching institutes.


Shailesh who worked as an office boy in a private firm has cleared CA examination though he lacked financial support. Shailesh, youngest son of housemaid Nirmala and textile loom worker Arun, studied in Sarvajanik High school in Marathi medium. He lived in a 12×25 room in a slum in Limbayat with a family of five.

He joined B.Com course from IGNOU through correspondence. While doing B.Com he came in touch with Jay Chhaira, his tutor and employer, running the Institute of Professional Studies in Athwa lines. He joined the institute as a student-cum-office-boy so that he doesn’t have to put any financial burden on his father and elder brother.

He joined CA course and used to study in office during his spare time. He did lose heart in between and left studies completely for two years, only to return with more vigour and cleared every exam. Ultimately he passed CA examination successfully and started his own consultancy firm. In spite of his financial difficulties he has successfully cleared CA examination.

There is no need to worry about financial difficulties and the examination can be passed by overcoming such difficulties.

Another girl Dhanshree Vilas Todkar, daughter of a Tea stall owner also cleared the examination recently. She also worked in the Tea stall during spare time. Thus it is obvious that CA examination can be passed by any individual even if they come from a poor financial background.

Cleared CA, ICWA, CS at 23 yrs

Many students struggle to pass the CA examination even though they study only CA course exclusively.


23-year-old Pallavi Sachdeva from Delhi, cracked three exams CA (Chartered Accountancy), CA (Cost & Works Accountancy) and CS (Company Secretary). It is really a great achievement as she has cleared all three professional exams simultaneously without any difficulty. Better understanding of basic concepts and proper planning has helped Pallavi to accomplish this achievement.

Daughter of Auto driver who scored first rank

Prema Jayakumar, the 24-year-old daughter of a migrant Tamilian Jayakumar Perumal, an autorickshaw driver has topped her chartered accountancy examination by scoring 607 out of 800 marks (75.8 per cent).She secured all India First rank in her first attempt.


Prema studied in Tamil medium till Class VIII from a Tamil medium municipal school. She switched over to English medium only during ninth standard. It is really a great achievement that she could score such high marks despite difficulties faced by her.

Her brother Dhanraj aged 22 years also appeared in the CA examination and passed it in his first attempt. Dhanraj worked in a call centre to support his studies.

Visit this link to see her interview

CA after 32 attempts

Normally students lose interest after continuous failures and discontinue the course. They tend to join some other course or take up some employment. But untiring efforts has enabled Kailash Narayan Purohit of Jodhpur to pass CA after making 32 attempts spread over a period of 20 years. He was determined to pass the examination despite repeated failures.

Confined to Wheel chair, but passed CA

Neha Bansali was confined to the wheel chair when she hurt her spine. Neha Bansali shares her experiences in her own words.

“I was born in Delhi and grew up there. I belong to a middle class family. I have a younger brother and a younger sister. When I was playing with my friends my spine received a minor injury. But because of infection the entire spine got affected. As a result I could not sit up and got confined to the wheel chair. Except my right hand I could not move any part of my body. I had to depend on others to attend to the daily ablutions. I wanted to commit suicide. The support given by my father and mother, my sister and brother kept me up, I took the +2 exam. I scored 92% in the exams. This achievement gave me confidence and encouragement. I took the chartered accountant’s final exam and stood tenth in the national ranking “

This success made me live and I grew up from then on. I, who was confined always to the wheel chair with ability to move only one hand, developed a great urge to achieve something notable. I could secure a job as a chartered accountant in a firm and became the chief accountant.”

Born with cerebral palsy, but cleared CA

Ajit Shekhawat was born with cerebral palsy and underwent treatment for two years at a Mumbai hospital at the age of five. His treatment continued in Gandhinagar later on and Ajit continued his studies and completed his graduation in commerce from Gandhinagar. He then started preparing for his CA examination at home and cleared it.

Train blast victim who passed CA

Chirag Chauhan was an average student and it was only in the tenth standard final examination that he managed a first class.

Chirag Chauhanwas among the survivors of the serial train blasts on July 11, 2006 which claimed over 180 lives. That day he had left for home early when a bomb exploded in the suburban local at Khar Road station. His spinal cord was damaged due to the explosion and some particles are still embedded in his chest and close to the trachea.

Despite his debilitating injures, he pressed on with his course and completed it on July 12, 2008. He lost his father when he was 18 and was faced with the prospect of looking after his sisters and mother, something he can proudly do now.

Chirag Chauhan, now wheel chair-bound, is a full-fledged CA working as a senior manager.

These success stories prove that it is possible to achieve success in CA examination despite physical challenges and financial hardship.

Success stories of College dropouts

Kiran Jonnalagadda cleared his PU course after five attempts. And by the time he did it, his friends had completed their engineering course. But Kiran’s story had just begun.

This Bangalorean’s name now features in the team that developed the Human Protein Reference Database by John Hopkins University. The database contains entries on the 3,000 most-studied human proteins and their roles in diseases and is supposed to be the standard of developing a database internationally. Kiran has come a long way from an unsuccessful PU candidate to a successful entrepreneur.

kiranLike many who failed many times before tasting success, Kiran says it’s OK to fail. Stories of suicides by anxious students shock them. Exams are not the end of the world, they insist. “As Einstein said: ‘Just because a fish cannot climb a tree doesn’t mean it’s not smart.’ I was never good at Maths and Chemistry but I loved computers,” Kiran says.

What kept him going through the five years in PU: “Fear. It was through an act of rebellion that I started working. I gained confidence and I wanted to get into a college. But I felt insulted when some people said I was too old for it. That was last straw,” he said. Kiran has worked with Chip magazine, the e-governance wing of the Karnataka government and then with the John Hopkins University.

Another interesting example is renowned theatre artist Vivek Madan. He dropped out of college when he was doing his first year BSc in Environment Science at St Joseph’s College. >”Some days, I’d revise a subject for days before the exam, but remember nothing during the exam. I’d think ‘What’s the purpose of studying?’ I realized I wasn’t stupid – it was either the subject or the way it was dealt with,” said Vivek.

He added, “It wasn’t an easy decision to quit. My family did well in academics. My two grandpas are PhDs. Scoring 52% in PCMB was a horrifying experience,” he said.

vivek artistYet that didn’t stop him from quitting college at 19 and plunging whole-heartedly into theatre, despite of his parents’ disapproval — “I had a big fight at home when I did that,” he says. “It was supposed to have been a year-long sabbatical but I never went back to college.”

He began with a series of musicals adaptations. He went on to direct his first play at the tender age of 20 and even won an award for it. “You know, I got kicked out of the dramatics team at school and college. I always wanted to go back and show the cultural secretary that award,” he grins.

He then decided to tread a more conventional path and took up a job at Trump It – an events and marketing company. It was a short stint however that lasted all of ten months.So he went ahead and started his own entertainment company, Harlequin entertainment along with a partner.

KARTHIK.jNarlaKarthik Naralasetty, 25, with an established business in the US, feels success in studies does not guarantee success in life. Karthik dropped out of Rutgers University, US, after a year. “I realized I had to spend a lot of my father’s hard-earned money to get a degree. I asked myself, ‘What do I want to do after getting a degree?’ I knew the answer – start a large business and manage it,” said Karthik, currently running a company called Socialblood Inc based in New York. “Funnily, though I don’t have a degree, I’ve got investors who’ve been to Harvard, Stanford, MIT and IIM,” says Karthik.

He was labelled a poor student in school. Karthik said he couldn’t do much about his dislike for Mathematics. “Through school, I was bullied by teachers because of this. In Class X, my school officials openly declared that I and a few students would surely fail the examinations and be a disgrace to the school,” recalled Karthik. He said the mantra to be successful in life doesn’t lie in Class X or Class XII grades.

Now much more successful than he may have ever been, Naralasetty is an Internet entrepreneur and the founder of the first of its kind site “In June 2011, I heard of a rare case in a four year-old girl who had thalassemia. She needed 30 units of blood a day every day. Not knowing anything about blood banks I realised how hard it was to find blood. My obvious response in the age of Facebook, was why can’t Facebook tell me when someone needs blood,” he says animatedly over the phone.

Having started eight groups for different blood types on Facebook, his idea led to people posting requests for blood on the site. “Eventually, I formed the website that can connect you to people in your locality or the city to donate and receive blood. Within six months, 20 countries approached us to create a similar model for them,” adds this winner of the Staples Youth Social Entrepreneur Award, 2011.

At least Akshar Peerbhoy, a successful businessman, followed that mantra since the day he was enrolled in the school. I’m probably one of the only few students to fail in Class 1. Even during exams, I’d prefer playing some games” or later on, hanging out with my friends. Most teachers gave up on me. My parents were incredibly worried, as both of them are leaders in their field,” said Akshar, who had a brief stint at Deakin University, Australia but dropped out in the second year and returned to India.

akshar-It’s been a rollercoaster journey so far for Akshar, who says that focus and power of mind are keys to real success. “Today, I’m respected among colleagues and clients. Today, when I meet school friends, they’re amazed at the change in me. At the beginning of my career, I started every morning with only one goal — be better than I was the day before,” said Akshar, a successful businessman.

Reid Hoffman started his professional life with the intention of becoming an academic. But then he realized: “in order to be a professional scholar, you have to dedicate a vast majority of your career to writing esoteric books that only 50 people will understand.”

linked inSo instead, he got into the technology industry with a job at Apple, where he helped build eWorld, Apple’s version of America Online. Next, he started a company called SocialNet. It failed.

A friend of Hoffman’s, Peter Thiel, recruited him to join a startup, PayPal. It sold to eBay in 2002. Then Hoffman went on a long trip to Australia. There, he decided to create an Internet company. It’s LinkedIn. Today, it’s worth $19 billion – and Hoffman is its biggest shareholder.

Mantras for success

* I don’t believe the school system is the only route to success. It gives you an automated path to a career. Otherwise, you can make your own path.

– Kiran Jonnalagadda

* I was lucky it worked out for me. It could have gone awry. You have to play your cards right.

– Vivek Madan

* Life is what you make of it. If you fail, laugh at it and move on. Never lose hope.

– Karthik Naralasetty

* Studying is not the end of life. Today, I am who I wanted to be all along and it has nothing to do with a formal education.

– Akshar Peerbhoy

Success story of school dropout who became CEO of Quick Heal company

It is not everyday that one comes across a truly inspiring story of success, interwoven with hardwork, vision, judgment calls, and yes, the ability to spot opportunities. Kailash Katkar, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Quick Heal Technologies started his journey as a school dropout.

Despite being low on education and skill, Kailash Katkar has created a multi crore anti-virus software business.

Katkar gave up formal education after he passed the Secondary School Certificate examination in the mid-1980s because of his family’s circumstances. His father was a machine setter in electricals company Philips in Pune and his mother was a homemaker.

Katkar relied on his interest in technical matters to learn how to repair the then popular office gadgets such as Facit adding machines, desktop electric calculators and ledger posting machines.

Looking back, Kailash Katkar, started his entrepreneurial venture with a calculator repair business in Pune in the 1990’s.

When one door closes, another opens. It’s been like that right through Kailash Katkar’s life. Every time an opportunity looked like dimming, another emerged for him. He says his success was largely the result of his ability to sense changes in technology early.

Kailash Katkar explains his success story as told to Amit Shanbaug.

“I wasn’t interested in studies, had no special skills, only a small repair business These may not be the right qualifications for being an entrepreneur, but it has turned out well for me.

I started working on my own when I was in school. I always was on the lookout for jobs that could supplement my family income. I think it’s the drive to give myself and my family a better life that moved me on the entrepreneurial path.

In 1985, having barely managed to complete my matriculation, I took up a job at a local radio and calculator repair shop as I needed to supplement the family income. The owner sent me to his Mumbai shop for a two-month training and, subsequently, I returned to Pune to work for him for just 1,500 a month. I was only 19 and, over the next five years, I not only learnt a lot about fixing calculators and radios, but also picked up enough accounting skills to handle the books for my employer. In 1990,I felt confident enough to start my own calculator repair business with a seed capital of 15,000,which was drummed out of my savings. I leased a small 100 sq ft office in Pune and started a one-man venture.


In the first year, I managed a decent income of 45,000, but I was not satisfied with the progress I was making. I realised that one way to scale up would be to capitalise on the ongoing software boom. So I started reading about computer hardware, even enrolling for a short computer management course in 1991-92 to understand the basics of computer application. The classes were held in the evening, so my business did not suffer, and once I was sure I had my basics in place, I decided to venture into computer maintenance.

The idea was to take care of the entire repair work for an annual fee. In 1993, I finally started a new venture, CAT Computer Services, while continuing with the repair business. Generating business was a huge challenge initially since I had no work experience in the field. However, I did not lose hope and kept trying to woo customers aggressively. I got my first break a few months later when two families signed up for the maintenance of their personal computers for an annual fee of 2,000 each.

With some work experience to back me up, more work soon came my way. In September 1993, I managed to breach the corporate domain by bagging the annual maintenance contract for New India Insurance followed by another group a month later. I managed to generate a turnover of 1 lakh in 1993-94 and employ four people to manage and expand the business.

Around this time, my younger brother, Sanjay, who was studying computer engineering in Pune, began writing software programs. On my insistence, he started developing a basic model of antivirus software for us. In those days, the people involved in computer maintenance faced this problem and I realised that there would be plenty of takers for cheap and simple solutions.I started using the software we called it Quick Heal for my customers and sold it to other vendors making it one of the least expensive options available in the market.

But nobody was willing to pay for it. So it was distributed free with the computer AMC and also circulated it among their network of computer service professionals.

“Then came deadly viruses like One Half and Natash. Only our antivirus could decrypt the files they encrypted,” Katkar recollects, indicating that even the global big names in the antivirus business were not up to the task. “That was the birth of Quick Heal as a business idea — a solution that would reside on a machine and tackle problems as they cropped up.”

Before long, the anti-virus software became a big hit and my turnover for 1996-97 was 12.19 lakh, three times that for the previous financial year. In the following years, Sanjay and other hired software developers came out with more advanced versions of this software.By 2002,the business had grown to a point where we managed shift to a 2,000 sq ft office in Pune, which we purchased for 25 lakh.

Our first branch opened in Nashik a year later, followed quickly by several others across India. By 2005-6, we had diversified our product portfolio, moving beyond the anti-virus solutions. We covered the entire gamut, from security and tuner solutions, which focused on increasing computer speed, to mobile security and gateway level protection. Another milestone year for us was 2007,when we renamed the company Quick Heal Technologies.

Of course, there have been several setbacks along the way.

“There was a time when our employees were leaving our setup because they felt that our company was small and wasn’t growing or well-known. We realised that it was time we moved to a realistic idea and that’s when we decided to do away with the Maintenance Company tag. We lost a few customers because we were short staffed and could not meet our deadlines. We suffered losses and the cash crunch affected our product development and the process. Even no bank was ready to support us.

At one point, in 1999, the business was in such a bad shape that we considered shutting shop since we were not even in a position to pay staff salaries. Thankfully, we decided to delay the decision by a couple of months, and during this period our hard work pulled us out of the red.

Accepting challenges is not always easy, but if you have a “never give-up” attitude, you survive. You have to completely believe in your idea and give your 100% to it. Also if you are a good observer and can read the pulse of your consumers, you will know when and how to improve.

The infusion of 60 crore from the US based private equity firm, Sequoia Capital, in 2010,helped us expand our footprint internationally. In the past two years, our export turnover has been to the tune of 4% of our total business, and we hope to push it up in the coming years. Today,the company employs 610 people and has 23 offices in India. We also have a presence in nearly 50 countries across the globe. The sky is truly the limit for us.”

Visit this link to view his interview

Visually-challenged Pratish Dutta gets Gold medal at IIT Kanpur

Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur’s student Pratish Dutta who is visually challenged has proved that eyes are not required to see, one can see through his mind.

Pratish Datta who lost his eyesight when he was in college was awarded Professor Jagadish Chandra Bose Memorial Gold Medal from President Pranab Mukherjee for the best academic performance among outgoing students of the M.Sc courses in the science disciplines at the IIT.

His cumulative grade point average was 9.87 — higher than any other M.Sc student at the IIT. After graduating with mathematics from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata, he joined the institute in 2010.

Born at Batanagar in north Kolkata to Prabir, a civil engineer with a government undertaking, and Ranjana, a home-maker, Pratish has depended on his mother for studies. She would read out his lessons and he would memorise them.

From his childhood he was dependable on his mother for everything. “If I studied 10 hours a day, my mother used to study 15 hours for me as she is instrumental in helping me understand the subjects since I could not read,” said a jubilant Pratish who thanked his mother after receiving the award.

Pratish was six months old when doctors told his parents that he had ‘retinoschesis’ , in which the layers inside the retina gradually get separated from each other, eventually leading to total blindness. By Class VIII, he had to use high-powered magnifying glasses to study.


It was in his second year at St Xavier’s College that he lost his sight completely. Ranjana turned a full-time reader for her son and when he cracked IIT-JEE , she moved to Kharagpur with him. Pratish and his mother live in a rented apartment on the IIT-KGP campus. “We received a lot of help from people . His IIT teachers and classmates were very kind. At St Xavier’s , College they would print question papers on A3 sheets for him,” Ranjana said.

“My parents are my inspiration . They never made me feel that there was anything wrong. I received tremendous support from my teachers and buddies. My friend and classmate Fauzal Atik took great care of me at IIT,” Pratish said.

His father, who is a civil engineer, also played a pivotal role in shaping his career. “My father always told me to give my best effort and I followed his words. At last, I have succeeded,” added Pratish.

“His mother would read out his lessons to him,” said Pratish’s father Prabir Datta. “All the credit goes to his mother. He even ranked second in the country in GATE this year. We feel so proud. My boy is no different… Rather, he has proved better than many,” Datta said.

Keen to take up teaching and research as his career, Mr. Datta has enrolled in a Ph.D. programme on Cryptology and Network Security at IIT Kharagpur.

His PhD guide Sourabh Mukhopadhyay is amazed at how a visually impaired person could score so high in a subject like Mathematics. “This has never happened in IIT, Kharagpur, or anywhere in the world,” he said.

He could not solve a mathematical problem on a piece of paper because of his visual impairment.

“I could not even write a simple mathematical formula, all I did was remember it. I do all the calculations mentally and then dictate it to my scribe, who puts it down on paper,” 23-year-old Datta said.

“I would read out the lessons, including mathematical problems, and he would memorise them,” his mother Ranjana Datta said, adding that since Mr. Datta was interested in mathematics, she encouraged him to take up the subject.

But, this did not dampen Pratish Datta’s love for mathematics, or his zeal for pursuing a career in mathematical research. Not only was he able to do complex mathematical calculations but he scored the highest grade among all M.Sc. students this year.

“Pratish has an extraordinary mind and his way of learning is only through listening to lectures. But whatever he listens, it gets inked in his mind. We were also confused when he joined the institute, but he emerged with flying colours with his ability to rise above adversities,” head of the mathematics department Professor P.D. Srivastava said.

Sheer grit and determination can do wonders. And 23-year-old Pratish Datta knows all about it. Datta has been a topper all his life. He tells that if one tries, one can do anything; lack of sight is hardly an impediment.

Listen to his talk at TEDxIITKharagpur

You did MSc in mathematics at IIT and are known to do complex mathematical calculations mentally. How is that possible?

It goes back to my childhood. I lost vision in one eye at six months of age and had poor vision in the other. My parents felt that if I studied a lot, the pressure would damage this eye too. So my mother would read all my lessons to me and I would memorize them. Even maths sums were done mentally. I knew no other way to do it. Over time, practice made me perfect. I also manage to finish my exams in almost the same time as normal students. But a lot of higher mathematics is not just calculation but visualization too and I can handle that. Even Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler lost his vision in the last 17 years of his life. But he continued to do research. My mind is my eye now.

How did you cope with the loss of your eyesight?

I was doing my second year at St Xavier’s College in Kolkata in 2008 when I lost vision in my second eye. I was shocked to suddenly see a dark world but my parents and teachers stood by me. As I loved studies, I decided to concentrate on that. All my happiness is related to studies. Even when I came to IIT, there were many questions about whether I would be able to cope. But my faculty helped me with a competent scribe, which itself takes the load off students like me. He’s a computer operator here who understands mathematics symbols and has done presentations for various seminars.

The dean of student affairs also helped me find accommodation within the campus. I also have nice friends, especially Fouzoul Atik who studied with me in MSc. He would sit beside me, dictate what was written on the board, take me from one class to another, xerox pages for me…he was very happy when I got the gold medal.

Was it difficult to handle the pressure in IIT with this impairment? Your mother seems to have sacrificed a lot.

As I was able to see in childhood, I understood maths symbols and could do well. But for many others, the fact that higher education books aren’t in Braille are a handicap. An attempt should be made to convert them so that others like me don’t suffer. As for my mother, she has stood by me like a rock. Even when I said I wanted to study in IIT, she told me bravely, ‘Go as far as you want, I will be with you.’ And she did. She left Kolkata where my father is a civil engineer and came to stay with me, an only child, here at Kharagpur.

You seem to lead a normal life -you use the mobile quite well and have a Facebook profile. How do you manage these?

I have memorized the keys and functions of my mobile so I can use it effortlessly. I also have a computer screen-reading software called JAWS which reads out whatever text there is on it.

“My aim in life is to serve the nation by inventing tools that will help society,” he added.

Famous People Who Failed At First – II

Public Figures
From politicians to talk show hosts, these figures had a few failures before they came out on top.

Winston Churchill: imagesCAL5A729This Nobel Prize-winning, twice-elected Prime Minster of the United Kingdom wasn't always as well regarded as he is today. Churchill struggled in school and failed the sixth grade. After school he faced many years of political failures, as he was defeated in every election for public office until he finally became the Prime Minister at the ripe old age of 62.

Abraham Lincoln: While today he is remembered as one of the greatest leaders of our nation, Lincoln’s life wasn’t so easy. In his youth he went to war a captain and returned a private (if you’re not familiar with military ranks, just know that private is as low as it goes.) Lincoln didn’t stop failing there, however. He started numerous failed business and was defeated in numerous runs he made for public office.

Oprah Winfrey: imagesCACNS3E5 Most people know Oprah as one of the most iconic faces on TV as well as one of the richest and most successful women in the world. Oprah faced a hard road to get to that position, however, enduring a rough and often abusive childhood as well as numerous career setbacks including being fired from her job as a television reporter because she was “unfit for tv.”

Hollywood Types

These faces ought to be familiar from the big screen, but these actors, actresses and directors saw their fair share of rejection and failure before they made it big.

Charlie Chaplin: It’s hard to imagine film without the iconic Charlie Chaplin, but his act was initially rejected by Hollywood studio chiefs because they felt it was a little too nonsensical to ever sell.

Lucille Ball: During her career, Ball had thirteen Emmy nominations and four wins, also earning the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kennedy Center Honors. Before starring in I Love Lucy, Ball was widely regarded as a failed actress and a B movie star. Even her drama instructors didn’t feel she could make it, telling her to try another profession. She, of course, proved them all wrong.

Marilyn Monroe: imagesCAJTG3JHWhile Monroe’s star burned out early, she did have a period of great success in her life. Despite a rough upbringing and being told by modeling agents that she should instead consider being a secretary, Monroe became a pin-up, model and actress that still strikes a chord with people today.

Writers and Artists

We’ve all heard about starving artists and struggling writers, but these stories show that sometimes all that work really does pay off with success in the long run.

Vincent Van Gogh: During his lifetime, Van Gogh sold only one painting, and this was to a friend and only for a very small amount of money. While Van Gogh was never a success during his life, he plugged on with painting, sometimes starving to complete his over 800 known works. Today, they bring in hundreds of millions.

Emily Dickinson: Recluse and poet Emily Dickinson is a commonly read and loved writer. Yet in her lifetime she was all but ignored, having fewer than a dozen poems published out of her almost 1,800 completed works.

Steven Spielberg: untitledWhile today Spielberg’s name is synonymous with big budget, he was rejected from the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television three times. He eventually attended school at another location, only to drop out to become a director before finishing. Thirty-five years after starting his degree, Spielberg returned to school in 2002 to finally complete his work and earn his BA.

Stephen King: The first book by this author, the iconic thriller Carrie, received 30 rejections, finally causing King to give up and throw it in the trash. His wife fished it out and encouraged him to resubmit it, and the rest is history, with King now having hundreds of books published the distinction of being one of the best-selling authors of all time.

J. K. Rowling: jkRowling may be rolling in a lot of Harry Potter dough today, but before she published the series of novels she was nearly penniless, severely depressed, divorced, trying to raise a child on her own while attending school and writing a novel. Rowling went from depending on welfare to survive to being one of the richest women in the world in a span of only five years through her hard work and determination.


While their music is some of the best selling, best loved and most popular around the world today, these musicians show that it takes a whole lot of determination to achieve success.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Mozart began composing at the age of five, writing over 600 pieces of music that today are lauded as some of the best ever created. Yet during his lifetime, Mozart didn’t have such an easy time, and was often restless, leading to his dismissal from a position as a court musician in Salzberg. He struggled to keep the support of the aristocracy and died with little to his name.

Elvis Presley: As one of the best-selling artists of all time, Elvis has become a household name even years after his death. But back in 1954, Elvis was still a nobody, and Jimmy Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, fired Elvis Presley after just one performance telling him, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.”

The Beatles: Few people can deny the lasting power of this super group, still popular with listeners around the world today. Yet when they were just starting out, a recording company told them no. The were told “we don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out,” two things the rest of the world couldn’t have disagreed with more.

Ludwig van Beethoven: In his formative years, young Beethoven was incredibly awkward on the violin and was often so busy working on his own compositions that he neglected to practice. Despite his love of composing, his teachers felt he was hopeless at it and would never succeed with the violin or in composing. Beethoven kept plugging along, however, and composed some of the best-loved symphonies of all time–five of them while he was completely deaf.


While some athletes rocket to fame, others endure a path fraught with a little more adversity, like those listed here.

Michael Jordan: imagesCABIL7R4Most people wouldn’t believe that a man often lauded as the best basketball player of all time was actually cut from his high school basketball team. Luckily, Jordan didn’t let this setback stop him from playing the game and he has stated, “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Stan Smith: This tennis player was rejected from even being a lowly ball boy for a Davis Cup tennis match because event organizers felt he was too clumsy and uncoordinated. Smith went on to prove them wrong, showcasing his not-so-clumsy skills by winning Wimbledon, U. S. Open and eight Davis Cups.


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