Get Inspired from people who overcame physical handicaps to achieve Success

Life is tough for those born with a disability, traumatic for those whom disability strikes like a bolt from the blue, and a catastrophe for those who cannot cope with such an eventuality. Featured here are a cross-section of amazing Indians who managed to achieve the impossible in the face of great physical handicaps.

The never-say-die attitude of these brave men and women will always serve as an inspiration for generations to come.

Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi

The Indian cricket captain from 1962 to 1970, popularly called Tiger Pataudi met with a nasty car accident in the early 1960s resulting in complete loss of vision of his right eye. This was just when he was at the threshold of a great future. He continued playing undeterred by this big blow and went on to not only continue playing the game but also captained the side.

Amitabh Bachchan

The reigning superstar of Bollywood in the 1970s, Big B’s magnificent run came to a stop when he met with a near fatal accident on the sets of the film Coolie. Though he miraculously recovered after long hospitilisation, he was not fit enough to carry on acting like in his salad days. After short stints of acting and retirement which also saw him start his own company ABCL that eventually proved a failure and led him to incur massive financial losses. Amitabh recovered lost ground after the stupendous success of the tele-show Kaun Banega Crorepati which he successfully anchored. He also resumed acting thanks to his great will power, resilience and solid support from family and friends.

Hrithik Roshan

Not many know that the mega star has been suffering from a major stuttering problem ever since age 6 and has gone through several painful speech therapy sessions to improve his speech. He continues with speech therapy even now fearing that he may get back to stuttering and incoherent speech.

Sudha Chandran

A highly talented dancer who started giving public performances at a very young age, life dealt a very cruel blow to Sudha Chandran when she was seriously injured in a bus mishap in Tamil Nadu. The ensuing hospitilisation and medical negligence led to her leg developing gangrene and an amputation. Only 17 then, the young dancer was in a state of shock for months together. The realisation that she could try to get back to dancing dawned to her when she heard of the famous Jaipur Foot. Many visits to Jaipur and several dancing trials later, the brave woman mastered dancing with the Foot.

Ravindra Jain

The renowned music director who scored the music for such hit films like Chitchor, Saudagar and Ram Teri Ganga Maili was born blind. Noticing his flair for songs and music, Ravindra Jain 's parents sent him to music classes at a very early age. From then on, there was no looking back. Besides being a composer, Ravindra Jain is also a good singer.

Hemant Trivedi

He belongs to the crème de la crème of the Indian fashion scene and was the only male to graduate from the prestigious Western Australian Institute of Design, Perth. Almost a decade back, Hemant Trivedi was all but dead in a terrible car accident in Mumbai. Timely medical intervention thanks to his mobile phone helped the designer recover and recuperate.

Leander Paes

With a string of international championship wins, Leander Paes has put the traumatic period in 2003 when he was hospitalised for suspected cancer, behind him. Luckily for the tennis star, the diagnosis turned out to be negative and he was found to be affected by neurocysticercosis, another name for a parasitic brain infection.

Dr Jaipal Reddy

The 68-year-old Minister for Urban Development who is wheelchair bound or uses crutches is one of the livewires of the present cabinet. In 1998, he was awarded the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award for his prowess in tackling political debates.

Sandeep Singh

The former Indian hockey team captain and penalty corner specialist Sandeep Singh was grievously injured after being accidentally struck on the abdomen by a stray bullet. The incident that happened aboard the Shatabdi Express resulted in the player missing out on the 2006 Hockey World Cup. He survived the ordeal and went on to resume playing for the country.

Sharad Pawar

The Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, has had multiple operations around his mouth for removing tumours and lesions. The resulting contortions on his face have definitely hampered his speech but not his spirit.

Abhishek Bachchan

Abhishek Bachchan was dyslexic when he was a child and attended a special school. The critically acclaimed film Taare Zameen Par which evolves around childhood dyslexia cites Abhishek's case of a child with dyslexia who went on to not only conquer the disorder but also became a big achiever.

Salil Ankola

The dashing all-rounder made his international cricket debut in the same match as maestro Sachin Tendulkar. Later, in spite of being in the national teams several times over, he never got to play a match which resulted in an additional term in cricket jargon called 'Ankolad'. His cricket career came to an abrupt halt when a tumour was detected on his shin around the year 1997.The affliction resulted in him having around 34 stress fractures. After his cricket career ended Ankola took to acting on the small screen and has acted in several shows like Balaji Telefilms' Karam Apna Apna and also Season 1 of Big Boss. He also acted in a couple of Bollywood films like Chura Liyaa Hai Tumne.

Lisa Ray

A familiar face on the Indian advertisement scene ever since she appeared in a Bombay Dyeing ad with Karan Kapoor, the Canadian-born model, whose father is a Bengali and mother Polish, Lisa Ray has also acted in quite a few films notably Deepa Mehta’s Oscar-nominated film Water.

In June 2009, Ray was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and had been undergoing treatment. A stem cell transplant in April this year has completely cured her of the cancer and the actress who put up a brave face all through her battle with the dreaded disease is now back in the thick of action.

Sonali Rathod

The singer who is married to tabla player-turned singer Roop Kumar Rathod had a serious throat problem in the middle of her career and almost lost her voice. She resumed her career later and was instrumental in her husband's transformation from a tabla player to a singer

These are but a few of the numerous brave Indians who have battled disability and gone on to shine in their respective careers or taken up an alternative career. Hats of to these brave men and women featured here and those not featured here who live by example.

Source: India Syndicate

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Eighty year old ailing doctor does 150 surgeries a day free of cost.

He is 80, is battling throat cancer and can barely talk, is confined to a wheelchair because of an accident, has undergone a triple bypass surgery and has a heart that functions only up to 18% of its capacity. Where would you expect such a man to be? Confined to a hospital bed, of course.

Dr Dicksheet met with an accident in 1978, which rendered his right side paralysed. He subsequently underwent a triple bypass surgery after suffering a severe heart attack.

Dr Sharad Kumar Dicksheet is confined to hospital beds indeed, but only to fix people’s defective faces and bodies, something the plastic surgeon has been doing free of cost for poor patients for the past 42 years. Advancing age and ailments have not been able to slow him down. With precise moves and extremely neat sutures, it takes him less than 30 minutes to perform a cleft lip surgery on a one-month old child. Speed and efficiency are his mantras and he performs 100-150 surgeries a day. Such operations usually cost 25,000 but he does them for free, clocking 2,66,000 surgeries in India in the past 42 years

“He prefers small children and young men and women of marriageable age for surgeries as he does not want them to live with the ignominy of a disfigured face,” said Sashi Munoth, Dr Dicksheet’s coordinator and member of Bharatiya Jain Sangathan, which funds the surgeries

A Padma Shri awardee, Dr Dicksheet lives in New York for six months and spends the rest of the time in India, from September to March, travelling across 10 states solely to perform surgeries for cleft lips, squint eyes, facial scars, ptosis and birthmark removal. Each year, he travels through Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Rajasthan to perform the surgeries.

“My troubles are nothing when compared to the problems of children who come in for surgeries and the stigma they face in life because of their disfigurement. My sole aim in life is to give them a better life,” said Dr Dicksheet.

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14-year-old girl is World’s youngest CEO

Meet 14-year-old Sindhuja Rajaraman, the CEO of Seppan, a Chennai-based animation company launched only in October last. And we’re not kidding. A ninth-standard student, she was adjudged the fastest 2D and 3D animator by software lobby Nasscom at the Gaming and Animation Conclave 2010 at Hyderabad. Interestingly, she is also a brand envoy of design software major Corel Software .

As head of this nascent firm, today she may give tough competition to some of the top CEOs when it comes to taking business decisions, that too quickly. But where did she start?

It all started five years back when I wanted to take my mind off studies and do something new. My father, who is a cartoonist, instilled in me the passion to do animation and taught me the entire process, she says. I have tried my luck with animation even before I started learning it professionally. I did my first mini animation project when I was in sixth standard. It was on “do not disturb animals?,? she recalls.

Early Months

After a few amateur moves last year, Sindhuja made a Guinness Book record attempt for the fastest animation film. The project was for Exnora, a Chennai-based non-profit organisation, to mark the occasion of 10-10-2010. I created a three-minute animation film in 10 hours. It has gone to the Guinness team and I am still waiting for them to announce the final results, she says proudly.

Things started rolling right after that when Sindhuja was offered by First Planet to work as Seppan’s chief executive. With an investment of Rs 10 lakh, First Planet seeded the firm and the entire thing happened within a day. I did not even know what a CEO meant that time, she says.

At Seppan, we are a team of 10 people and we will be adding more people as and when the need arises. Though my team mates are older they always take my assistance and, in turn, they also guide me. They have taught me what corporate world is and what team management is.

Her mentor Kumaran Mani, who helped her with the setting up of Seppan, says, Initially she was a little uncomfortable being a CEO. But now she has learnt the tricks of the trade. When she meets a client she immediately shakes hands, collects their cards and neatly puts it in her folder. Software lobby Nasscom’s regional director for Chennai, K Purushothaman, tells us that Sindhuja is very passionate and committed in what she is doing. She has mastered the domestic animation skills. Now she has to sharpen her knowledge and skills on what’s happening in the international market he said.

To Stay An Entrepreneur

Though some firms have approached her to join them, she is not too keen. I don’t want to join any big corporates now. I want to be free like a 14-year-old girl should be. I don’t want to be overloaded with work. After 18, I will take up bigger projects. she says.

Before signing off like every other professional, she says,I want to make a mark in this industry. When I’m twenty-year-old, I want Seppan to have a turnover of at least Rs 1 crore.Her aim now is to study at the Vancouver Film School in Canada and specialise in animation.

But doesn’t she want to go to school and play out like other kids? My school has given me an exemption. I go for tuitions after work and go to school to write my exams alone.One needs to sacrifice certain things to chase dreams. I also like to play like other kids and that’s why I chose to play with animation, she answers.

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Lessons from Dhoni’s Leadership

Dhoni gives the following Leadership tips for every aspiring Leader :

1. We should be a performer and we should demonstrate the same to our team. Performance is itself the most effective communication down the line.

2. Leader has to be humble in way to consider part and parcel of the team and not above the team.

3. Give genuine respect and trust to the team members.

4. Allow them to experiment and take risk.

5. In case of failure, encourage him / her to introspect and do it next time with more vigour and better planning.

6. Make every one in the team feel that , even though we are leaders, we are just one among them.

7. We should also believe in the ones who failed in the Team. At crucial times a team member who was not able to deliver might do miracles.

8. As a leader, be calm in extreme situations and lead the team from front.

9. Share the credit of success with your team members and praise them in public.

10. Above all believe in every member in the team.

When Ganguly was playing his last match, as a gesture of respect, Dhoni asked Ganguly to take charge of the team when the ninth Aussie wicket fell. Whenever he has an opportunity, he showers his players with praises

Managing under change is a vital attribute to be learned from the leadership under Dhoni. A good leader doesn’t mind going out and exploring. Dhoni’s risk taking ability, inclusiveness and time-pressure qualities are good examples of leaders on the business side.

If you notice, instead of pressing teammates to win, Dhoni told them to just enjoy the game. Also, he has mentioned at several forums that he believes to live in the present and not worry about future or past.. Dhoni’s leadership style represents teamwork, empowerment and confidence.

Dhoni utilizes every team member at his disposal and brings out the best performance whether he is a senior or junior player. He provides opportunity for every team member to prove themselves and contribute to the best of their abilities.

Remember, he gave the last over to Joginder Sharma who doesn’t have much a track record., By putting such a person in front of a challenging task, it tells the person that the leader has confidence in his abilities and will be fired up to put in 120 per cent. This happened with Joginder Sharma in two critical matches, where he was hit all around the ground and still given the last over. He delivered on both instances!

Leaders need to be assertive yet humble and must rarely allow their personal egos to be an obstacle for the success of their organization and that’s what M.S. Dhoni showing us through his current leadership style.

Another learning from Dhoni is about, Optimal utilization of resources, which is vital for any business. Instead of giving excuses for lack of best resources, especially with the current scenario economic crisis, it is better to perform in whatever resources a leader has to his disposal

His ‘people management’ skills tell us, he is truly a great leader. When team members see their leader calm in extreme situations, they will not be rattled. It will enable them to focus on their work and do what is expected of them. Dhoni was always calm – whether the bowler started off the last over in the finals with a wide ball or the batsman played a series of dot balls in a slog over.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni is a forthright, straightforward cricketer unburdened by the baggage that generally accompanies a man onto the field, thereby restricting his outlook. At once he is intelligent and simple, aggressive and canny, tough and respectful.

Dhoni’s Inspiring Quotes

When asked why he was not happy at the moment of victory at the post match conference, Dhoni replied, “I didn’t like way we played. With such a strong batting display, we should have won comfortably”. Would you ever expect the captain of a team not celebrate the moment of victory in a match that almost went down to the wire?

“I never predict what will happen in cricket. We believe in each other and we believe in the process. We will take each game in the right frame of mind,” he said

“We are not thinking about what may happen if we achieve or what may happen if we don’t succeed because those two things are beyond our control. So rather than thinking about something that’s too much ahead of us it is very important to take every game in the right frame of mind and that is what will be our process throughout the tournament,” he clarified

“If you have not achieved something, there’s pressure on you to achieve it. Once you have achieved it, there is pressure to sustain it. Nothing comes easy.”

“We didn’t rely on one specific individual, everybody contributed. Each and every batsman scored at some point in the series and the same applies to the bowlers also.”

In a nutshell Dhoni’s story is all about an ordinary man doing extraordinary things and a role model for every aspiring leader. Each one of us could use this model, pattern and design to create our leadership journey.

(Courtesy: Media reports)

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Rags to Riches Success story of JK Rowling

Joanne Kathleen Rowling was born in Chipping Sodbury, England in 1965. She began writing at the age of 6 with a story called ‘Rabbit’, which she never finished.

In high school her favorite subject was English. From High School, Rowling went to Exeter University where she earned a degree in French.

After graduating, she spent a year studying in Paris and then went back to London where she worked in a number of jobs, including a year with Amnesty International and a short time as secretary for a publishing company, where she was responsible for sending out rejection slips.

In the summer of 1990, on a delayed train from Manchester to London, she came up with the idea of a boy who discovers he is a wizard. But it would be 7 years before the idea became a book.

In that same year her mother died of Multiple Sclerosis and she left for Portugal to teach English, hoping to find a way to deal with her grief.

In October 1992 she married a Portuguese television journalist, Jorge Arantes. But the marriage lasted just eleven months.

In 1993 she left her husband and returned to England, with the one legacy of her failed marriage – an infant daughter named Jessica.

Her life suddenly took a nose-dive. Fighting poverty and depression, she lived in a mice-infested flat in Edinburgh and struggled to raise her baby daughter on a welfare check of 70 pounds ($100) a week.

Unable to heat her flat, she sat in cafés nursing an espresso for 2 hours at a time and worked feverishly on the manuscript of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ while her baby daughter slept in a pram.

The manuscript is said to have been rejected by three British publishers – Penguin, Transworld and HarperCollins.

But Bloomsbury Children’s Books did sign her up, reportedly paying £10,000 ($14,300) for the rights to ‘Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone’.

The Philosopher’s Stone was published on 30 June, 1997 and was an instant success.

The book was published under her initials because her publisher feared that boys would be less likely to read the book if they knew it was written by a woman.

At a book fair in Italy later that year, Scholastic Books bought the American rights for $105,000, an unheard of figure for a children’s writer with only one book to her name.

It was published in the States in 1998 with the title ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’.

The sequel – ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’ – was published in June of 1999 and later that same year, the third book in the series was released, ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’.

By the time her fourth book appeared in 2000 – ‘Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire’ – the series had become an international phenomenon: the initial print run for her 4th book was 1.5 million copies in the UK and 3.8 million in the US.

By 2000, JK Rowland had become the highest-earning woman in Britain, with an income of more than £20.5 million ($29.3m) in the previous year.

In 2001 her annual earnings were estimated at over £24m, ($34.3m) placing her between Madonna and Paul McCartney in the ranks of high-earning celebrities.

In October 1998 Warner Brothers bought the rights to ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ and its sequel (‘Harry Potter and the Chamber Of Secrets’), for the tidy sum of $700,000.

With the release of the first Harry Potter film, J.K. Rowling’s total earnings are estimated to have exceeded $100 million.

In March 2001 she was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) by the Queen, for services to children’s literature.

(c) 2002 by Michael Southon

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News paper Boy who Became President

Several months back, after finishing an interview with Dr APJ Kalam, and just before leaving his Rajaji Marg residence he made me repeat these three words in a schoolteacher’s tone: perseverance, hard work and patience.This, he said, was alone the path to progress. Later, much later, I realised, that those were the very words he’s lived by all through his life. They are both philosophical and practical, quite like the world he grew up in as a boy in the island town of Rameswaram, in south India.

His father, a humble boat owner, Jainulabdeen, was a devout Muslim and a close friend of the Rameswaram temple priest. Kalam was brought up in a multi-religious, tolerant society; one with a progressive outlook. His father often quoted from the Quran to make the young Kalam see the world without fear. He had seven siblings, and a doting mother who, at times, made chappatis for Kalam, while the others were given rice as Kalam’s day would start at four in the morning and end at 11 pm.

His father wasn’t educated, but he wanted Kalam to study. Kalam would get up at 4 am, bathe, and then go for his mathematics class, which was taught by a teacher who took only five students in the whole session; and bathing before class was a condition he had laid to all his students. After his morning class, Kalam along with his cousin Samsuddin went around town distributing the newspaper. As the town had no electricity, kerosene lamps were lit at his home between 7 pm and 9 pm. But because Kalam studied until 11, his mother would save some for him for later use.

Being a bright student, Kalam always had the support of his schoolteachers. Schwarzt High School’s Iyadurai Solomon often told Kalam that if he truly, intensely desired something, he would get it. “This made me fearless,” said Dr Kalam. And outside school, Ahmed Jallaluddin, who later became his brother-in-law, and Samsuddin, encouraged Kalam to appreciate nature’s wonders. So at once, while growing up, he was exposed to a religious and a practical way of looking at the world.

The flight of birds had fascinated him since he was a boy, but it was years later he realised that he wanted to fly aircrafts. After finishing school, he took up Physics at St Joseph’s College, Trichi, but towards the end he was dissatisfied. When he discovered aeronautical engineering, he regretted having lost three precious years. But he was glad to have discovered Leo Tolstoy, Thomas Hardy and F Scott Fitzgerald and other English poets in his college years.

At Madras Institute of Technology (MIT), Chennai, where Kalam studied aeronautics, he learnt an important lesson: the value of time. He was leading a project on system design, when one day the principal walked into the class to see his work. He appeared dissatisfied and told Kalam that he wanted the project finished in the next two days; else his scholarship aid would be withdrawn. That unsettled Kalam; years of his father’s hardships would come to naught. Kalam worked without food and sleep. On the last day, his professor came to check on his progress. He was impressed and said: “I was putting you under stress and asking you to meet a difficult deadline,” recounted Dr Kalam.

Although Kalam has led several projects in his professional life, he’s treated each like his last. Such was his passion. No wonder, he’s always led projects. His advisor, Major General R Swaminathan explained Kalam’s success as a leader. “He has this unique capability of being a boss as well as a worker. He can take on any role with ease.”

When Dr Kalam’s first major project SLV 3-failed the first time he was almost shattered. Also, around this time, Kalam’s childhood mentor, Jallaluddin, died. “A part of me too passed away…” said Dr Kalam. But he never thought of quitting after SLV-3. “I knew that for success, we have to work hard and persevere.” And so, SLV-3 was launched again, this time with success. He drew strength from philosophy, religion and literature to tide by his professional setbacks; also a life with few companions. In time, he also learnt to deal with professional jealousy and uncooperative team members.

Success followed Dr Kalam. Prithvi, Agni, Akash, Trishul and Nag missiles were huge successes. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan and Bharat Ratna, and then he became the President of India; one of the few presidents who have touched the hearts of so many poor children in the country. Because he also came from a poor background, he knew the power of education in changing one’s future.

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Inspiring story of a blind media graduate

Meet Garima Goyal, who had to give up her dreams because of an irreversible and degenerating eye condition, went on to become one of India’s first visually challenged media graduates.

The day before her first history test in the tenth grade, Garima Goyal‘s mother walked into her room and said: “You have the same problem as bhaiyya.”

For a regular 15-year-old, this might have sounded like bickering about the mess in the room, her grades or some such mundane problem.

Garima’s brother, Ashish, however was no regular teenager. After that morning, she wouldn’t remain one either.

It had been a few years since her brother was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, an irreversible and degenerating eye condition.

Ashish Goyal was going blind. And now, so was Garima.

A little over 10 years since the day, the two siblings have lost most of their vision.

Ashish has gone on to become the first blind person to graduate from Wharton and is the first blind trader at J P Morgan’s London operations.

Garima is one of the first visually challenged media graduates from the Maharashtra State Board of Technical Education. She’s completed her course in social communications media from Sophia College — a major portion of this course involves a strong visual element.

She has around 20 per cent of her sight remaining.To be honest, at first, she didn’t seem like a visually challenged person to me either. Part of it, perhaps, has to do with the fact that Garima is so comfortable with her impediment, she’s learnt to overcome it superbly.

It was a senior in college who sensed this and offered to help.

“He challenged me to beat his scores. I said it was impossible, but since it is in me never to let my dear ones down, I did my best and graduated with flying colours.”

Garima counts her years in college as being some of the toughest.

Coping with her condition during her teenage years was not easy. She remembers jumping into extracurricular activities just to keep depression away.

“Ashish had suggested this. So I started participating in every committee in college,” she says. “It was a whole new world and I wanted to experience everything.”

At the time, Garima’s condition was in its nascent stages. She could still go about her daily routine without anyone noticing the difference.

But, since it would only be a matter of years, she decided to let her friends know.

When I asked her about the most difficult times in her life, she counted this as the first.

Overcoming depression during my early college years was tough,” she said. “That is the age when you want to be a normal teenager, but you get labelled dumb because you cannot complete papers. You try to fit in but you can’t.”

It took her three years to come out of that phase.

“I used to sit for hours doing nothing. Time and the fact that no one let me give up healed it, I suppose,” she says.

The second phase was when she was pursuing her Master’s course in Commerce from Sydneham College, Mumbai.

“I was figuring out what to do and was largely at home, learning music and taking some time off. That was when people began to take my presence for granted. Everyone assumed I was only waiting to get married.”

Around this time, Garima found solace in writing — she has two unfinished novels and a whole lot of poems — and asked herself what she hoped to do in the future.

“Media seemed to be the place where creativity and writing came together,” she says.

Garima joined Hindustan Times in Mumbai as an intern to get first-hand experience.

She remembers her first day — a friend came over early in the morning and helped her go through six newspapers.

For the next three months, Garima worked at their office, where she edited stories for the Metro desk with the help of special software they had let her load.

This was the first brush she had with the outside world. It gave her the confidence to step out of her comfort zone; it also gave her much-needed direction.

Three months later, Garima knew what she wanted to do. She applied for the social communications media course at Sophia College, Mumbai.

“The department had inhibitions as to how a visually challenged would pursue a high-pressure visual course. They communicated their reservations to me.

“As part of the course, we were supposed to make a film, design ads, go out and speak with people. It wasn’t going to be easy and I had no idea how I’d do it, except that I wanted to.”

Garima started off on what she describes as the third most difficult phase in her life.

Garima’s first assignment involved watching D W Griffith’s The Birth Of A Nation.

By now, Garima had lost most of her eyesight. But she hadn’t stopped going to the movies with her family and friends; she could still follow most of what was going on because of the dialogues and the music.

The Birth Of A Nation however was a different ball game altogether.

Released in 1915, the seminal movie belongs to the silent era.

“There were no dialogues!” she recollects, now laughing. “And it was a three hour movie!”

As she sat through the movie, Garima felt like a fool. “I wondered why I was even bothering to waste my time on this. I couldn’t see a thing. I couldn’t understand what was going on.”

By the time she went back home though, Garima had made up her mind to get around the situation. She searched online for information about the movie, read up on it, researched the hell out of the topic and came back to the next class.

In her semester exam, she would top the film paper.

Garima says the course made her push her limits. It was challenging and affected her health but, she says, it was worth the effort.

Along the way, Garima made friends — friends who stuck by her, didn’t mind being woken up in the middle of the night to talk to her or stop by just so they could do little things for her.

Looking back at her achievements, Garima is content. She is currently working with her guru, Balaji Tambe, who runs a holistic healing centre in Karla near Pune and is translating his works into English.

She has never learnt Braille and says technology has helped her get by without much difficulty.

Her phone and laptop have screen reading software that help her read and write.

When I ask her if she’s ever felt alienated because of her condition, she tries to think back. “Maybe when I was 16 or 17.” After a little while she adds, “I do not recall. The more you collect things, the more difficult it is to move on.”

Life may not have dealt Garima a fair chance, but it isn’t something she is complaining about; she prefers to focus on her future.

The one lesson she’s learnt though is to be true to herself at all times.

Initially, people are sceptical of you. Then, when they see you work, they are proud. Later comes the phase when they begin to expect the best from you. When people tell me how I’ve changed, I only smile. All along, I have been the same person they were unsure of.”

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Muhammad Ali inspires Indian Cricket Team

Look who’s helping Team India realise their biggest dream; Muhammad Ali, arguably the greatest living sportsman.

The American boxer’s quotes figure in a 125-page document handed out to India’s World Cup team in their journey to regain world cricket’s greatest prize. The manual, entitled ‘Let’s Make Our Dream Come True’ is put together by chief coach Gary Kirsten, mental conditioning coach Paddy Upton and explorer/adventure traveller, Mike Horn. Ali’s quotes appear in a section called, Heroes who can motivate:

>> Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your whole life as a champion.

>> Champions are not made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision.

>> Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. Nobody can beat you.

Sachin Tendulkar, who is playing his sixth World Cup, is featured in the manual as an inspiration: “Desire backed up with tremendous talent makes Sachin Tendulkar a noted strength.”

Legendary cyclist Lance Armstrong is cited as an example of excellence. Here’s what appears under ‘Lessons from Lance Armstrong’:

A. Clearly define your goal

B. Don’t start without strategy

C. Pick a great set of coaches and then listen to them

D. Pick the right team and trust them

E. Pick the right equipment

F. Use state-of-the-art techniques

The down side is not ignored in the manual. Under the sub head, ‘Threats’ appears the injury factor: “Injuries before the WC to quite a few players do give a scare and if they (players) carry the injury to the tournament, then it will surely affect the team’s balance.

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Success story of Suhas Gopinath

A CEO when he was in his teens? Suhas Gopinath, founder of Global Inc., attributes his entrepreneurial success to his never-say-die spirit.

It was probably a co-incidence that a huge billboard of the film “The Social Network” stood tall above his office but, minus the lawsuits, Suhas Gopinath could be considered a local Zuckerberg. It does not matter that he does not have a degree, because Suhas is the CEO of Globals, an IT company he started when he was a gangly teenager with a powder moustache.

“I started working to buy myself a computer, and I wound up with a company,” says Suhas, who comes from a middle class family that believes business is for those who are poor at studies and who have no other choice. “I have always been impatient and aggressive; when I want something I have to get it. It’s this drive that has helped me achieve most of what I have,” he says, admitting that he picked up his leadership skills on the job.

Suhas started his career in an Internet shop; he worked there and also designed websites for Western companies. “They underestimated my capabilities. To be able to prove yourself you need to have the appropriate educational qualifications, and I had not completed my engineering,” says Suhas, who still holds Bill Gates as his muse.

Unfazed by failure

Another thing that motivated Suhas was failure, “I just got more aggressive with failures, but I was never afraid of taking risks. I went with the flow and never questioned my abilities,” he says. He started when he was 14, along with his friend who is in the U.S. We operated out of his flat there. In fact, it was the Western companies and the media there that recognised me initially and helped me move ahead.”

Luckily for Suhas, he could cross the seas sitting in his Internet café in Bangalore. “We did most of the work virtually, besides building solutions to help people minimise travel,” says Suhas. About how he tried to catch up with academics, the self-professed workaholic who has survived on less than four hours of sleep says, “The time difference between America and India worked for me because I would attend classes during the day and work through the night.”

Suhas, however, does not queue up outside elite institutions to pick the cream of the lot. “We do recruit from institutes such as IIMB, but for our research and development, and engineers, we do not focus only on the big names. As long as they have the skill set and practical knowledge, it is fine,” he says.

For the technologically challenged, Suhas and his team build applications for Facebook, iPhones, Blackberry and Android phones. They also develop web portals and auction sites and engage in other such technologically advanced activities. “We are now focussing on the bottom of the billion, doing extensive work to improve the education and healthcare systems in Africa and India,” says Suhas, who claims that if he were not CEO he would rather be a veterinarian.

“When I started out, I devoted all my time to work, but I paid the price, I lost out on friends and fun. Which is why I try my best to minimise my workload on weekends these days,” says Suhas, whose last vacation was over a year ago at Bandipur.

For someone who did not know the meaning of the term ‘entrepreneur’ when he started out, Suhas has come a long way. He sailed through the recession without even a bruise, in fact, turning it around to his advantage. He scaled up his operations in Europe, while the rest of the world reeled under the crisis. He now serves on the board of the World Bank and has been recognised as a young global leader. Next on the agenda is marriage. “Now, that I have established myself in my career, my parents feel I am ready to get married.”

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Inspiring Success story of FaceBook

Mark Zuckerberg’s father said in a radio interview Friday that an early exposure to computers inspired his son’s interest in technology, and he encouraged parents to support their children’s strengths and passions with a balance of “work and play.”

“My kids all grew up around the office and were all exposed to computers,” said Dr. Edward Zuckerberg, a dentist. “There are advantages to being exposed to computers early on. That certainly enriched Mark’s interest in technology.”

Zuckerberg said he computerized his offices in 1985. His son Mark Zuckerberg, co founder and CEO of Facebook, was born in 1984 and was raised in the house where his father’s dental offices are located in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., in suburban Westchester.

The dentist spoke for an hour on Westchester station WVOX in an interview with Paul Feiner, supervisor of Greenburgh.

The dentist said his own computer science background was “limited” – he majored in biology in college – but he said he’s “always been technologically oriented in the office” and “always had the latest high-tech toys,” including an early Atari 800. “It came with a disk for programming,” he said. “I thought Mark might be interested and I imparted that knowledge to him. From there it took off.”

He said Mark got a book on programming, but “ultimately his ability to program was self-taught.”

Feiner and a number of callers to the live radio program asked Zuckerberg for advice on parenting.

“Probably the best thing I can say is something that my wife and I have always believed in,” he said. “Rather than impose upon your kids or try and steer their lives in a certain direction, to recognize what their strengths are and support their strengths and support the development of the things they’re passionate about.”

Zuckerberg said he “didn’t believe in physical discipline” but added that certain behaviours require parents to let children know “right there on the spot, this is a behaviour that will not be tolerated. If you impart your dislikes about certain negative behaviours early in their lives, they will learn to understand what your feelings on certain matters are.”

Zuckerberg said he doesn’t want to portray himself as an expert on child rearing, but he said: “I think that extremes in any form in parenting are not good. Children need to be well-rounded. There’s a place for work and a place for play.”

He described Mark as “a good student” with “a special affinity for math and sciences,” as well as a “very quiet guy” who “doesn’t like to boast about his accomplishments.” He said that when Mark was named Time magazine’s person of the year, his famous son remarked that “it must have been a really slow year. He’s very humble.”

“I’m proud of his accomplishments and the accomplishments of all my kids,” he added. Mark’s sister Randi is marketing director for Facebook, his sister Donna is a Ph.D. candidate in classics at Princeton, and the youngest, Arielle, is a senior at Claremont McKenna College with a minor in computer science. Her dad said “she’s doing a job search right now.”

Asked by a caller whether his wife, Karen, worked when their children were young, he said, “My wife was a superwoman. She managed to work and be home. We had a unique situation because my office was in the house. I highly recommend it if it works for your occupation. It did afford the ability to work and be home with the kids at the same time.”

Karen Zuckerberg is a psychiatrist but she helps out in her husband’s office. Zuckerberg said he uses Facebook to promote his dental practice and spends about an hour a day on the site. He also still does Mark’s “routine dental care.”

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