Rising above challenges
Kartik has turned his hobby into self-employment opportunity
Karatik is special. Special as a medical practitioner would call him and as a person who has achieved much in life. With an educational qualification which can put many to shame, his life, unlike that of others like him, has represented an uphill graph till now. With support from parents and teachers he has been able to beat his disability. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was three-years old, doctors advised Kartik’s mother, Rajalakshmi Chanderashekar, to put him in a special school.
Vidhya Sagar became his first abode, where he studied till Class X. “Kartik could not have achieved so much without the support of the school,” says his mother. He went on to finish his schooling from Lady Andal School, Chetpet. He was admitted to Loyola College where he did his under graduation in English Literature. Along with the regular course, Kartik enrolled himself into an add-on course on Media Presentation. He finished his M.A. in English and History. Studious as he is he went on to do an M.Phil in English and submitted his thesis on childhood theme in R.K. Narayan’s famous work, ‘Swami and Friends’.
Life, as Kartik would tell us, had been easy and fun-filled, with acceptance from everyone, till he had to apply for a job. On approaching organisation backed by a good education record, Kartik was turned down every time, not because he was not well qualified, but because he was different. “They only looked at my disability, not at what I could achieve. I tried every sector from BPO to journalism but no one is willing to take me. I also tried the government job meant for disabled, but was turned down. They either have a problem with my voice or my typing speed.”
Dejected after three years of job-searching, Kartik has found solace in his hobby which he has turned into a self-employment opportunity. An avid reader, Kartik has a collection of over 1,000 books, which he now lends out to others. A year ago he started a library called Sri Chakra at his home.
The library features collections of books on varied subjects such as history, literature, spiritual, children’s literature, study–related textbooks, general knowledge, competitive exam preparation books, etc. The library also has a special collection called Library of Nations, with detailed history and growth of continents. For Tamil lovers, the library offers classical works. Many of them came as presents from others.
To manage his library efficiently, Kartik also went on to get a Bachelors degree in Library and Information Science from Madras University. The membership fee for the library is Rs. 500 a year. Starting with five members, the library today has 25 patrons.
Through all ups and downs, his mother has been a rock-solid support. “I used to travel with him thrice a week to Madras Christian College, Tambaram, for M.Phil classes. My proudest moment was when Kartik went on the stage to collect his graduation certificate. People gave a standing ovation to him. Nothing can beat that feeling. I am thankful to Loyola for its support to Kartik, whenever we approached the principal with problems they were addressed immediately.”
Apart from reading, Kartik also loves chess and cricket and is a movie buff. “Vishwanathan Anand, Sachin Tendulkar and Ajit are my role models. I got a chance to meet Vishy and played a friendly match with him. I also met Sachin over dinner at Taj Coromandel and got a bat and a cap as souvenirs from him. But, my dream to meet actor Ajit has remained unfulfilled till now.”
Kartik wants to achieve a lot more. He wants to become a cricket columnist, wants to expand his library, and get a Ph.D in English, but his ultimate aim is to land a job. “I want to give back to my parents for all the sacrifices they have made for me. I want to run the library along side. Never before has my disability bothered me, but constant rejection has made me question where and when will I fit in.”
Travelling is also a major challenge for Kartik. His family is looking for sponsors for meeting transportation costs. Kartik can be reached at 98846 08795 / 91760 64755 / 81225 42365.
His library is located at No. 81/D Arihant Flats, Thambiah Road, West Mambalam. It is open from 4 to 7 p.m.