A Reason to Rejoice – the story of Vision-Aid Student Bharathan

Vision-Aid is happy to share their joy and pride on the achievement of Bharathan V.S., one of the Vision-Aid students, and also a Teaching Assistant in Vision-Aid learning programs. Bharathan has recently graduated from the Maharaja Sayajirao University, Baroda, with a B.E in Computer Science and Engineering, and has landed his first job as a Data Analyst at Shell Business Operations, Chennai, India.

The Vision-Aid team would like to share his story of success, as it is sure to motivate other visually impaired persons like him. Also, Vision-Aid wishes to take this opportunity to thank its many generous donors, dedicated mentors and volunteers and supporters. It is with all their support and aid, that Vision-Aid team can “Enable, Educate and Empower” many other bright and deserving candidates who can benefit from the timely help and guidance.

“Strength does not come from physical capacity; it comes from an indomitable will” said Nehru. Bharathan exemplifies this.

Bharathan, who lost 85% of his vision at the age of five, was raised by a single mother, a school teacher. Bharathan was fortunate to have a mother like her, who reposed utmost confidence in his abilities rather than his disability.

His mother recounts: “As a child, he was always a quick learner. He loved experimenting and experiencing things on his own, for e.g., using a magnifier to check out whether sunlight would really burn the paper, dismantling toys and trying to assemble them to perfection… all were intriguing for him from a very early age.. A wonderful help in the kitchen with cutting of veggies; Cutting his fingers or getting hurt with a knife was something that never bothered him. Rather, he would enjoy giving shapes to veggies, decorate them on a platter, winning various salad decoration competitions. He loved music and learnt to play the casio. His famous skating falls and injuries, truly brought out the best skating skills.. The losing of vision initially was a downside, which he quickly adapted to, and improved to work on polishing his memory skills through cubing, reading and playing music. He can solve any size of cubes, or cuboids and solve the 3×3 cube blindfolded as well. As for reading, he enjoys reading a wide variety of topics starting from mystery to fantasy, from self-improvement and leadership to self-finance and business, he loves them all. Adapting to using a magnifier for reading, to asking me to read and record for him in the free time was something he accepted without any qualms .He had a crystal-clear memory whether it was the exact page no. and paragraph in his textbook to answer an assignment or directions to places he might have visited 10 years back.”

His mother continues “Breakthrough came into his life with his association with Vision-Aid, – Ram Sir, Revathy ma’m and Sonal ma’m have been the best support system he has ever had. Nothing could make me happier than to see him achieve his dreams. He is my Best gift from God and the best friend I could ever have in my life. I always want him to be a good human being first! “

As an undergraduate student, Bharathan explored as many options as he could, in his own field of interest, and which suited him best. As a result, he was sure about what he would like to do in his life. “One of the greatest sources of energy is pride in what you are doing” and this is what kept him motivated.

Bharatan first came into contact with Vision-Aid in 2017 through their online Python Programming course. That was the first time he was introduced to the world of online learning. There has been no looking back since then. ‘The desire of knowledge increases ever with the acquisition of it’. He says, “This was just the beginning of my journey on MOOCs. A few of the other courses I have taken are Introduction to Computational thinking and Data Science , and several courses in the area of Artificial Intelligence, like Deep Learning Specialization”. Indeed, the list is very long as we can see from the impressive list in his CV. Sonal was his mentor, who not only guided him and introduced him to new online learning platforms, but also honed his learning experience by giving him opportunities to assist her in assessing the assignments of his fellow students. Since then, he has stayed on with Sonal as a Teaching Assistant. To quote his own words, “She has been there just like a ‘mother’ to stand with me and support me in every manner possible. A strong backbone to me and at the same time, my best critic too”.

Vision-Aid also helped him expand his horizons through their platform and events like Hackathons, and he finds the environment at Vision Aid very welcome and helpful. He acknowledges with gratitude, how Vision-Aid helped him in time to get a digital magnifier for use during the examinations, for a very low price. He is also grateful for some of the wonderful friends he made in Vision-Aid, and their mothers too, who gave him right values and direction, sharing their experiences as a parent.

Bharathan sums up his motto in life ” You had better live your best, and act your best, and think your best today; for today is the sure preparation for tomorrow and all the tomorrows that follow.”

This piece on Bharathan will surely be incomplete without mention of his special talent for Hindi poetry. It would be best to read his poem below, especially the one in which he outlines his mission in life, couched in beautiful language. For the benefit of those who do not know the language, here is a brief outline – My mission in life is not just to dream but to make them come true; to shape my own destiny, unfazed by the difficulties I may face. To persevere each day to learn something new; not to be daunted by failures nor elated by successes, but to march on…..

ख्वाब देखने का ही नहीं उन्हें सच करने की चाह
आज दिल में लिए चले हैं हम ।
अपनी किस्मत खुद अपने हाथों से लिखने का जज्बा
आज मन में लिए चले हैं हम ।
ए मेरे दुश्मनों सुन लो सभी कठिनाइयों को शिकस्त देने का जुनून आज सर पर लिए चले हैं हम ।।

ना हम यहां आज अपना दुखड़ा सुनाने आए हैं
ना हम यहां अपनी पिछली जीत का जश्न मनाने आए हैं
हम तो आज यहां कुछ नया सीखने की चाह लिए
कुछ नया सिखाने का जज्बा लिए आए हैं
हर दिन एक नई शुरुआत है
हर लक्ष्य एक नहीं ललकार है
हम तो यह उसी ललकार का प्रतिकार करने आए हैं।

ना हम उनमें से हैं जो आसमान को छूने के ख्वाब देखते हैं
ना हम उनमें से हैं जो परिंदे बनकर पंख फैलाए उड़ने की चाह रखते हैं
हम तो उनमें से हैं जो खुद आसमान को झुकाने का इरादा रखते हैं ।
इन आंखों ने बहुत से दिन देखे हैं
कुछ खुशी में तो कई गम में डूबी राते देखी हैं
इन आंखों ने सच्ची दोस्ती की मिसाल है देखी हैं
तो कट्टर दुश्मनों की करतूतें भी देखी हैं
इसलिए सच कहता हूं यारों आज इनमें न जिंदगी जीने की आरजू दिखती है
ना मौत का खौफ अगर कुछ दिखता है तो आगे बढ़ते रहने का जुनून दिखता है ।।

न हार से पहले हार मान ना सीखा हमने
न सीखा जीत से पहले जीत का ऐलान करना
ना हार के गम में डूब ना सीखा हमने
न सीखा जीत की खुशी में पागल हो जाना
अगर कुछ सीखा तो केवल अपनी मंजिल की ओर अग्रसर रहना
और कोशिशों में कोई कमी ना रहने देना ।।

आसमा को छत बनाए, पलकों पर नींद की चादर ओढ़े सोना हमारी पहचान है
ना आसमा की ऊंचाइयों पर अपने किले बनाए
ऐसे आराम से जीना हमारी पहचान है
हर चुनौती का स्वीकार करना
हर शत्रु को शिकस्त देना यही तो हमारी पहचान है ।।

It calls to one’s mind Longfellow’s poem,

‘Each morning sees some task begun;
each evening sees it close;
something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night’s repose.”.

The Vision-Aid community wishes him success and happiness in his future career. People like Bharathan are the true torch bearers and path -breakers. May their tribe increase!.

((Article courtesy of Vision-Aid volunteers Mrs. Vaidehi Hariharan and Mrs. Sonal P. Patel)

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