I was comically referred by my friends as someone ‘who walked like an old man and talked like a kid’. That kid, is an inspiration for them now! “Becoming India’s first IIM graduate with cerebral palsy will always be the greatest moment of my life. But, if you think getting a job with a fat check afterwards would be a cakewalk, you could not be more wrong! More than 50 interviews later, finally I landed a job. The reason! Your guess is as good as mine.”

In conversation with @Inclov, Sumanth KV, talks about the journey that helped him create history, challenges, and the appalling reason people with disabilities struggle in India.


 

India’s 1st IIM graduate with cerebral palsy: A humble beginning

“Facing a condition which hindered my body movements and speech, I knew things were going to be a little difficult for me. But, then I realized soon, there was no point cribbing about it. With the help of Spastics Society of Karnataka, I pursued my early education and was integrated into a normal school a few years, later. Thereafter, I went on to pursue graduation in commerce from Jain College, Bengaluru.

Reading the story of Sriram, who despite his visual impairment went ahead and pursued post-graduation from the prestigious management institution, IIM, turned out to be the inspiration that I ever needed. And there and then, I knew I had to bell the CAT and become India’s 1st IIM graduate with cerebral palsy!

After completing B.Com, I joined Thomson Reuters. I worked in night shifts, crunched numbers and had a fantastic time at work. All along, the preparations for the common aptitude tests (CAT) which would get me into the hallowed corridors of IIM, were on in full swing.

In 2010, in my fourth attempt, the dream came true! I went on to crack CAT and joined IIM-Indore. The two years spent at the management institute will always be the best time of my life. Graduating from IIM-Indore in April 2013, the sense of pride and achievement was overwhelming.


“But, reality struck me soon. If you think getting a job with a fat check afterwards would be a cakewalk, you could not be more wrong! Interview after interview, I kept getting rejected for inexplicable reasons, which left me shocked. More than 50 interviews later, I landed a job with Flipkart as an Operations Analyst.

Challenges in my life have been a plenty, hindrances have been rampant at all stages, but as Bill Gates rightly points out, ‘life in unfair, get used to it’. I did so early in life and managed to turn things around. The dreams are a plenty, and I intend to achieve them by putting forth one step at a time. I was comically referred by my friends as someone ‘who walked like an old man and talked like a kid’. That kid, is an inspiration for them now, in their own words.

The paraphernalia of the Indian society is unique! Everyone seems to always be in a hurry, to reach somewhere, and yet no one reaches no time!  Misconceptions about disability are borne mainly due to lack of proper education. We don’t have the maturity to accept different kinds of people. Even, the urban, educated class is also mired in outdated thoughts. Sympathy is not what the differently-abled people need, it’s an equal opportunity platform that they strive for; rest they can easily handle on their own. The worlds of Abraham Lincoln ring so true for people with disabilities:

‘We conquer the World, Not in any brilliant fashion.
We conquer the World, Just by doing our daily Job.’

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