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A Reason To Rejoice - The Story Of Vision-Aid Student Bharatan

Vaidehi Hariharan and Sonal Patel

Vision-Aid is happy to share their joy and pride on the achievement of Bharathan, one of the Vision-Aid students, and also a Teaching Assistant l 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 got his first job as 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 Vision-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 by timely help and guidance. 
 "Strength does not come from physical capacity; it comes from an indomitable will" said Nehru. Bharatan 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 confidence in his abilities rather than his disability.  It would be best to let her speak  

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 3x3 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 Bestest gift from God and the bestest 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 assisst her in assessing the assignments of his fellow students. Since then, he has stayed on with Sonal as a Teaching Assisstant. 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 as a poet in Hindi.  It would be best to read his poem, 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.....
 It calls to one's mind Longfellows poem,

'Each morning sees some task begun;
each evening sees it close;
 something attempted, something done,
Has earned a nights repose.". 

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

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