Born in an unplastered hut in Panthur of Kasargode, Ranjith Ramachandran apparently attempted every day of his 28 years to arrive where he is present, in the hallways of the Indian Institue of Management of Ranchi as an assistant professor. What especially cut at netizens’ heartstrings was the photograph of Ranjith’s house of 23 years an unplastered doorless two-room hut and a leaky tiled roof covered with black tarpaulin. Sharing the post, Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac applauded the “extraordinary will power” presented by Ranjith, whose journey to defeat social and financial backwardness to learn and grow told him of former Indian president K R Narayanan.
His journey from the small hut to the corridors of IIM is nothing tiny of a dream, and on Saturday, Ramachandran took to the responsibility of narrating this dreamy story with the single aim of encouraging youths who are trying every day just like he did to find success. “My success should inspire other people’s success,” he wrote in a Facebook post and then with a photo of the unplastered hut – the place where it all began, went on to narrate a story with the line – “An IIM assistant professor was born in this house.”
Ascribing St. Pius College for preparing him to talk and the Central University of Kerala for introducing him to the world outside Kasargode, he said, “it all paved way for Indian Institute of Technology, Madras”. Calling it a ‘strange’ world, he continued how in a group, for the initial time he felt alone.
Fluent in Malayalam, he affirmed that he used to have ‘fear’ setting his opinions into words, and there were days that he thought he could not move on, and consequently, one day he determined to quit his Ph.D. halfway but his master Dr. Subhash stopped him. “He asked me to fight before failing, and that’s where my stubbornness to win arose.”
After schooling, he entered St Pius X College in Rajapuram to continue his BA in Economics. This was the time he understood that going was hard at home. Even as he was regarding dropping out to assist the family, he saw a job advertisement calling for a night watchman at the BSNL telephone exchange in Panathur. He asked, and ‘luckily’, got the job. “I worked as a watchman there for five years — all through my degree and post-graduation days,” he said. Though his salary was Rs 3,500 per month initially, it went up to Rs 8,000 per month in the fifth year. “I studied during the day and worked at night,” he said. Ranjith topped his college that year.
After finishing his post-graduation at the Central University of Kerala in Kasaragod, Ranjith entered the elite IIT-Madras for his Ph.D. At IIT, however, Ranjith thought like he was alone in the middle of a crowd. “I was even afraid to speak. Before coming to Chennai, I was used to speaking only in Malayalam.”
Drafting that his journey from the hut, which he defined as heaven, to the assistant professor was a story of his difficulties and suffering of his parents, he once again asked the many living in small huts to try and not let their dreams wither away. “Even you are surrounded by shaky four walls, aim for the sky, and one day there will be stories of dream come true and not of dream withering away,” he added.