Friday, 1 January 2016

Inspire to Innovate (I2I) Storytelling Movement: Letter to Student Series- Volume 1 and Issue 5

Inspire through Storytelling - Innovate for Life turning

Letter to Student Series- Volume 1 and Issue 5

My Dear Student Friends,

Greetings! Wish you happy New Year 2016!

This is Dr. Ravi Saripalle, Believer and Mentor, Inspire to Innovate (i2i) Storytelling Movement. Welcome to “Letter to Student Series- Volume 1 and Issue 5”. Hope you enjoyed reading my previous letter. These letters are making Indian schools/colleges connected across North to South & East to West. I thank all of you for spending your valuable time reading this letter series and patiently acknowledging the same.  

In the previous issue, I highlighted how inspiration is function of dire need and craving desire. In this context, we heard about Saji Thomas, deaf, who surprised us by building twin-seater ultra light aircraft on his own, Shri Hansratnavijayji Maharaj Saheb’s divine inspiration, how it allowed him to fast for 494 days, various India’s inspirational facts, story on how number 1 inspired other bigger numbers, how a tree releases so much oxygen for free and so on. I hope they made you feel inspired! Aren’t they?  

In this issue, I would like share few inspiring stories to prove the fact that disability is not a barrier to get inspired! Disability is sheer state of mind. Recently I read a story from about Srikanth Bolla, born blind, uneducated parents whose yearly income is mere Rs. 20,000. Srikanth was rejected to admit in science stream after class X, due to his disability. However, he got admitted into prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US as first international blind student. He had to walk 5 km every day on foot to reach nearest school in his village. Later he joined special needs school in Hyderabad for better studies. He passed class X exams with over 90 percent, but he could only take Arts due to his disability. Finally he fought with the system and joined science stream, and managed to secure 98% in the XII board exams. He applied for IIT, BITS Pilani, and good engineering colleges, but did not get hall ticket due to his disability. Finally he applied to MIT and got in there. He gave up corporate jobs in US and returned to India to help many more differently-abled people in society. Srikanth is now CEO of Hyderabad-based Bollant Industries, a company employs uneducated and disabled employees to manufacture eco-friendly, disposable consumer packaging solutions, which is worth Rs 50 crores, with more than 150 people employed. What kind of inspiration Srikanth is leaving to all of us!!

Franklin D. Roosevelt, had Polio. However, he elected as President of the United States for four times. Helen Keller, Blind, Deaf, and Mute, but proved herself as famous author. She wrote her first book, The Story of My Life, talked about her transformation from childhood to 21-year-old college student. Keller remained as example of determination, hard work and imagination. She is first deaf blind person to recieve Bachelor of Arts degree. She is world’s famous speaker as well and wrote 12 books and several articles (wikipedia). What a source of inspiration for all of us? Stephen Hawkings, a famous Physicist and mathematician, nearly paralyzed, teaching as Isaac Newton Professor of Mathematics of the University of Cambridge, using computer supported machine where his words are compiled. How many tons of inspiration he is giving free to all of us? I really thank for publishing such breathtaking inspirational information. published a wonderful article on 10 unordinary personalities with disabilities. Sudha Chandran, met with an accident at an age of 17 and lost her leg. With the help of Jaipur foot, she continued her passion towards dance, proved herself as classical dancer. A movie was directed based on her real life called “Nache Mayuri”. She herself played a character! She performed all over the world. Arunima Sinha , who lost leg, conquered the Mount Everest, using prosthetic leg. Girish Sharma, who lost leg in train accident, became a badminton champion. The famous scientist, Albert Einstein, had a learning disability and was severely dyslexic and autistic. However, he made remarkable contribution towards theory of physics and won Noble prize for his photoelectric effect theory.

Jagdish Kashibhai Patel, visually impaired social worker, founded Blind Association of India, working towards cause of promoting the interests of the people with disabilities, won Indian civilian honour, Padma Shri. Y. G. Parameshwara, first Indian and one of the blind doctors in the world, practicing medicine, in spite of his disability! The first blind doctor is Dr. David Hartman of the United States. Ashish Goyal, named as Young global leader by World Economic Fourm, was first blind student at Wharton Business School in Philadelphia, credited as the first visually impaired trader in the world, worked for JP Morgan, BlueCrest Capital Management, ING Vysa Bank and so on! George Abraham, became founding chairman of World Blind Cricket Council (WBCC) and the Association for Cricket for the Blind in India (ACBI) (wikipedia). What an amazing people these are! How much deterministic they are in their respective missions!!
The famous mathematics scientist Pythagoras, suffered with epilepsy (neurological disorder) ( Ludwig van Beethoven, German composer, most important personality in the history of music, inspite of his personal problems especially deafness, maintained his position in the world of music, because of his self-consciousness, determination and total involvement towards his creative work ( The great innovator, Thomas Edison, faced hearing problem, used telegraphy codes to communicate. Once he visited to watch a play at the theater, his wife tapped Morse Code on his leg. Once he said, “Deafness probably drove me to more reading”. Inspite such challenges, he obtained 1093 patents and developed incandescent light bulb. James Earl Jones, the voice of Darth Vader in Star Wars, the voice of CNN and Mufasa in The Lion King, is the most in demanding voice in Hollywood.  He developed situational fluency when playing a role. But nobody can recognize that he stutters. He has stammering problem! This is an art of practice (

Finally, I want to discuss about The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, classic film, Directed by Julian Schnabel. Recently I read a story in This is about real story of Jean-Dominique Bauby, editor-in-chief of French Elle. He is 43-year-old father of two small kids, paralyzed by a stroke to his brain stem in 1995. After twenty days in a coma, he was able to communicate only by blinking his left eyelid. Using this only body part which is properly functioning, he could see, and learn to express himself. His speech therapist, his friends read an alphabet, he would blink at the letter he wanted. He formed words, phrases and sentences and completed his memoir. You know what? Exercised 2 million eye blinks to write a book called The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Based on this, a movie on this theme released and was huge success. He did not choose to be on bed! Used only working part, eye lid to make this huge success!

My Dear Friends, Recently I read a quote from anonymous author. “In a theatre when drama plays, you opt for front seats. When film is screened, you opt for rear seats”. Our position in life is highly relative. It is absolute. Let’s not compare. Lets only draw inspiration if need for comparison arrives. All problems have N + 1 solution. The N is what we tried or tired. However, the 1 which is not tried! Be patient till you get that 1 option. Be focused while executing those N options! Stephen Hawking once told “My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn't prevent you doing well, and don't regret the things it interferes with. Don't be disabled in spirit as well as physically.” ( In a sense, everybody in this world is disabled either physically or attitudinally. It is purely perceptional. It is a matter of choice whether we want to come out of that disability or not! He further emphasized “Obviously, because of my disability, I need assistance. But I have always tried to overcome the limitations of my condition and lead as full a life as possible. I have traveled the world, from the Antarctic to zero gravity.”

Hope you found useful reading these inspirational stories of great people with disability! They have not remained ordinary. They grabbed extraordinary positions in their respective fields! Do you think, you have a bigger role to play! Inspire, Inspire and Inspire!!! Friends, I appreciate your valuable time. I wish this is informative and useful. I will again see you in my next letter. Thank you for giving me this great opportunity to write to you and help me to learn, unlearn and relearn in this process. Again wish you happy New Year 2016!

With Best Wishes
Dr. Ravi Saripalle

About Author:    Dr. Ravi Saripalle is Believer and Mentor of Inspire to Innovate (i2i)Storytelling Movement. He is also Director, Center for Innovation, GVP College of Engineering (A), Vizag, AP. As part of Inspire to Innovate (i2i) Thinking Movement, Dr.Ravi conducts Inspire to Innovate (i2i) Storytelling Workshops to inspire students and provide customized mentoring to specific inspired students. Dr. Ravi is having more than 17 years of experience in Industry, Consultancy, Training, Mentoring and Research. Prior to this current role, Dr. Ravi worked with Wipro Technologies for more than a decade. Dr Ravi can be reached at saripalle.ravi@gmail,com or or    or    

Links to previous letters

1. Letter to Student Series- Volume 1 and Issue 4 (Inspire To Innovate (I2i) Storytelling Movement @ Students Of India) 

2.  Letter to Student Series- Volume 1 and Issue 3 (Inspire To Innovate (I2i) Storytelling Movement @ Students Of India) 

3.  Letter to Student Series- Volume 1 and Issue 2 (Inspire To Innovate (I2i) Storytelling Movement @ Students Of India) 

4.  Letter to Student Series- Volume 1 and Issue 1 (Inspire To Innovate (I2i) Storytelling Movement @ Students Of India) 

Disclaimer: The goal of this i2i letter series campaign is to inspire students through storytelling and develop innovative leaders to build strong nation. In this process, I have taken several data points from various websites, NEWS articles, books, videos etc. I sincerely thank all the editors for providing such insightful stories. To the best of my knowledge, I tried to acknowledge all the sources. I sincerely apologize for any omissions, grammatical mistakes and hurting any reader’s sentiments. I request all the readers to understand spirit behind this effort. This effort doesn’t involve any commercials. Letter series is for free distribution.