Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Wills and The Ways

If you are born to illiterate parents, and spent your early childhood in a village riding buffaloes, and the latter part a wheelchair and were an object of curiosity to the villagers who wanted to see how a boy without legs looked, would you ever think of cracking the IIT-JEE? And then bagging one of the most prestigious campus jobs, at Google four years later?

This story might seem straight out of an Amitabh Bachchan starrer rising from rags to riches against all odds, but that is what Naga Naresh Karuturi just did.

Born in Teeparru, a small village in Andhra Pradesh, Naga was a normal child till that fateful day in 1993, when the lorry-driver father took his family to a nearby village for a family function. Our seven-year-old hero was fiddling with the door latch and it opened wide throwing him out, scratching his legs in the process. The government hospital he was taken to conducted a surgery as his small intestine had gotten twisted, and bandaged his legs. A week later, they realized gangrene had developed in his legs upto the knees. He was referred to the district hospital where both of his legs were amputated upto the hips.

It requires amazing levels of optimism, courage, zeal, and determination for a seven-year old kid to recover from the shock of losing both his legs, not being a normal child anymore, but still continuing his studies to reach one of the top institutions in the country. The credit also goes to supportive parents and sister. His parents did not know anything about the residential school he later went or about IIT, but they always saw to it that he was encouraged in whatever he wanted to do. If the results were good, they would praise him to the skies and if bad, they would try to see something good in that. They did not just want him to feel bad. Wonderful supportive parents.

His sister Sirisha's contribution to his success was even more. She had to sacrifice two years of her studies to be in the same class as Naga, so that she could take care of him. She never complained. She was always there by his side.

Naga has an unflinching faith in God, and believes He plans everything for you. "If not for the accident, I may not have studied after the 10th, and may have started working as a farmer or something like that. I am sure God had other plans for me.", told Naga Naresh in an interview to rediff.

He also believes in destiny and that the world if full of good people. From MFMS missionary school that gave him and his sister free education upto 10th, Gowtham Junior College that waived the school fees of 50K a year, IIT-Madras where lifts and ramps were installed for him in the Computer Science department and an attached bathroom in his hostel room, to that stranger in the train who took care of his hostel fees from then on, he has been helped by everyone. He says, "I feel if you are motivated and show some initiative, people around you will always help you.", echoing the famous quote from The Alchemist: When a person really desires something, the entire universe conspires to help that person realize his dream..

Visit his orkut profile and you'll see floods of scraps from people congratulating him, asking for interviews and all. I am not sure whether I should contact him. Now that he is in Google Bangalore, I would even like to meet him, but do not know if that would be warranted. But I can get inspired by him and explore and use up my potential rather than procrastinating and leading a laid-back life.


bhuvan said...

amazing courage!!!

Ashutosh said...

Naga Naresh has proved, if there is will there is always a way to fulfill it. Hats off to him... :)

Violet said...

Awesome! Hats off to Naga, a hero in the true sense, larger than life, bigger than Bindra!

Daily Poppycock said...

Thanks to you for bringing such a beautiful story for all of us to read. Not every one can pull a Naga story, but we can certainly get inspired !

Anu said...

Wow really incredible. Everyone in life donot have the luck to be like him but can really take lot of inspiration from these kind of people.

ashes said...


Very rightly said. Bindra's success is being diluted on account of his royal parenthood, and Naga's is accentuated due to his rustic upbringing.

ashes said...

Daily Poppycock:

Thanks. Yes, everyone doesn't have the courage to do a Naga, but we can take him as a great source of inspiration.

Cuckoo said...

Yeah, I had read about him a few days back and thought I was the last person to read so did not write about it.
I kept looking at his photo for don't know how long. Amazing courage he has !

Yes, you should try to meet him and write again about your experiences. It'll inspire all of us here. Really looking forward to it.

renu said...

hats off to naga
not just for the courage but that fantastic smile on his face,dosent give away any of the struggle he must have gone through. a lesson for all of zara si pareshaani se ghabra jaate hain...

ashes said...


Well, I too had caught it up a bit late but then knew there would be people who wouldn't have read about it. And even if almost everyone had, I had wanted to get inspired myself. :)

Let me see when am I able to convince the practical side of me (which seldom works) to meet him.

ashes said...


Yeah, Naga never complains. In his interview to rediff, he said he never let himself wallow in self-pity. Whosoever might have helped him, to whatever an extent, he would definitely have had immense struggle to reach where he is today.

Why do I feel I'd heard your name before you commented?

Indigo said...

Amazing story. Abhinav Bindra looks a dwarf in front of Naga Naresh Karuturi.

Everyone would have helped him, but it is he who would have had to muster up all courage and have an undaunting will-power to fight his weaker self.

Roli said...

Thanks for posting such an inspirational live example.

"When a person really desires something, the entire universe conspires to help that person realize his dream." This sentence itself says that luck is not only the factor, but if you have a will you make luck turn to you and then good people come across to help you out.

One should always see the positive side in each and everything as even I do believe on a famous quote: "Everything happens for its own good".

Lovely post, I love to read these posts.

ashes said...


Absolutely correct! Even though Bindra is a self-made (read Dad-made) man and Naga had to always depend on someone else, the latter's success is more heroic, just due to the fact that Bindra was born on a bed of roses and he made the best use of them, and Naga fought to get one rose at a time.

ashes said...


Right, everything happens for its own good. That is what even Naga believes, and he admits that had he not had the accident, he would have been farming or something in his village rather than working at one of the world's most sought-after organizations.

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