Roger Crawford once said – ‘Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional’. Physically disabled Naga Naresh Karutura is a living example of the above statement. He has no legs, yet, he moves around in his powered wheelchair with an ever smiling face and with full of positive spirit. Born in a poor family, where both of his parents are illiterate from a village called Teeparru on the banks of river Godhavari in Andhra Pradesh, Naresh has graduated from IIT Madras as a Computer Science Engineer and joined Google at Bengaluru.
On 11th January 1993, Naga Naresh Karutura met with a drastic accident, as a result of which he lost both his legs, right up to the hips. While most of the people would have broken down and given up on just about everything, Naresh made sure to looked at the positive side of the things and made a conscious effort to continue his studies. His parents and sister played a huge role in fulfilling his ambition.
Naga Naresh Karutura never thinks, his life has changed dramatically after he has lost both of his legs. This was mostly because everyone treated him like a normal kid. He was treated on par with his sister by his parents; while, the teachers treated him the same as the other students. He was never given any special preference. This helped him not to wallow in self-pity. He happily competed with others to be on the top, and the others too took him as a competitor.
Naresh had topped the state exams. His Maths teacher Pramod Lal recommended him to Gowtham Junior College for IIT JEE preparation. Combining the motivation from his maths teacher with grit and self belief, Naga Naresh Karutura willed himself to do whatever it takes to crack the JEE. Seeing his bright academic record, the college waived its annual fee of Rs 50,000 for Naresh. He cracked the JEE with an All India Rank of 992 and was ranked 4th in the physically handicapped category, allowing him to get admission to one the most prestigious IITs. Naga Naresh Karutura did not wish to pursue PhD, as he wanted his parents to take rest. He passed over an offer from Morgan Stanley to join Google R&D, because he wanted to be in a pure computer science field where he could work with algorithms and game theory.
I Believe in God. I believe in destiny. God has always been planning things for you. If this accident had not happened, probably I would not have joined IIT and probably I would have ended up being a farmer or a driver.
A firm believer in God and destiny, Naga Naresh Karutura feels, God plans everything for us. Despite having lost both the legs, Naresh consider himself ‘lucky’ and believes ‘goodness’ is abound in the mankind. He was supported at different stages of life by great people. He tried using the Jaipur foot briefly, but had to stop as he was not comfortable with it. The hospital considered his case and offered to support him through college by sponsoring his tuition fee. Likewise, a total stranger Sundar, whom Naresh had met in a train after his second year at IIT, paid his hostel fees for the next two years. With the support of some great people along the way and his own determination to rise above the odds, Naga Naresh Karutura realized his IIT dream.
We often summarize the society is full of bad people, isn’t it? Actually, it isn’t; there are more good people than bad in our society. Naga Naresh Karututa’s story is one fine example of this. Naresh feels, if a person is motivated enough and shows some initiative, then the people around will definitely come to help. Coming up from a poor background with uneducated parents is tough enough for anyone and while dealing with it, Naga Naresh Karutura also had to overcome his disability. He never cursed his destiny, rather with a strong will power and a firm belief in God, he has achieved his dreams, inspiring thousands to believe in ‘anything is possible’. He wants to tell people that if he can achieve this, so can they.