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Everyone took it for a joke when Pechimutu, as a boy, told them he would become a doctor someday. He was a school dropout and was working in a mobile phone shop for a small salary. Now grown up, Pechimuthu is a doctor now and he is planning to do MD in Pediatrics. He has cleared Combined Medical Services Examination by UPSC too.

Pechimuthu’s parents hail from Kovilpatti. Father Mariappan used to press clothes for a living. Mother Selvi was a housewife and used to toil with her husband to eke out a living. The family moved from Kovilpatti to Tirunelveli. Pechimuthu completed his primary education from St Joseph’s school. After primary schooling, he was admitted to St Xavier’s School for high school education.

The family ran into a severe financial crunch in 2006 and moved out of Tirunelveli. Mariappan had to take his family to Bangalore where his sister lived. Pechimuthu had studied in Tamil medium. He could not join any schools in Bangalore since the medium was Kannada. The family did not have means to pay school fees in English medium schools.

Pechimuthu had studied in Tamil medium. He could not join any schools in Bangalore since the medium was Kannada. The family did not have means to pay school fees in English medium schools.

Dr Pechimuthu with fellow doctors

Pechimuthu with his colleagues

So, Pechimuthu and his brother Manikandan, studying in Class 7, dropped out of school. As a child labourer, Pechimuthu went to work in an incense making unit nearby. He later worked in a teashop, bakery and ended up in a mobile phone shop where he used to tell his colleagues that he would become a doctor one day.

Pechimuthu has spent four years on odd jobs like this. But his brother, who had by then joined a knitwear company in Tirupur, started prodding him to continue his studies. He asked Pechimuthu to take up Class 8 exams as a private candidate. He bought all the books and stationery for his brother.

Pechimuthu resumed studying from home. He scored 430 out of 500 in Class 8. His aunt, mother’s elder sister, decided to support the boy. She brought him to Tiruchendur and he was admitted in Class 9 at Senthil Andavar Govt Hr Sec School at Tiruchendur.

Balasubramanian, a trainee teacher in his school, was running a tuition centre. He decided to coach Pechimuthu for free. He would take special classes for him and conduct tests. “With all this support, I scored 480 marks in Class 10 with a centum in Mathematics,” said Pechimuthu.

Pechimuthu has spent four years on odd jobs like this. But his brother, who had by then joined a knitwear company in Tirupur, started prodding him to continue his studies.

Even with a school first rank, Pechimuthu did not know what to do next. He stumbled upon an advertisement from SPK Matriculation School at Namakkal providing free education to students who scored 480 and above. When he applied, he was selected by the school and asked to join.

Pechimuthu at his Convocation

Pechimuthu during convocation

Pechimuthu recalled how he landed up in the school all alone and there was no one to sign the admission form. The school receptionist Anitha took note of his plight and signed the form as his guardian. “For next two years, she was a great source of motivation,” Pechimuthu said.

Pechimuthu studied pure science and opted for the Tamil medium of learning. His cousin Rameswaran used to tell him a good cut-off will help him to get a medical seat. He scored 1167 out of 1200 marks in Class 12 exams in 2014. He scored 200 out of 200 in Biology, 199 in Physics and Mathematics and 198 in Chemistry.

He got a cut-off mark of 199.25, which got him a seat at Stanley Medical College. Agaram Foundation helped him to pay the education expenses. He did face difficulty in studying in English medium after school but Pechimuthu successfully completed his MBBS in 2020.

Pechimuthu now aspires to study MD in Pediatrics. Pechimuthu has cleared UPSC’s Combined Medical Services Examination and is waiting for the interview as well.

Dr Pechimuthu Meanwhile, his family finally returned to Kovilpatti. His brother Manikandan has completed the Teacher Training Course after clearing Class 8 and 10 as a private candidate. Pechimuthu now aspires to study MD in Pediatrics. “I was preparing for NEET during the last lockdown and appeared for MD NEET. The results are out and I am waiting for counseling,” he said.

Pechimuthu has cleared UPSC’s Combined Medical Services Examination and is waiting for the interview as well. “I will take up MD Pediatrics if I get a seat. I don’t think money will be a constraint since I would get stipends,” he says. Pechimuthu is working in a private hospital at Chennai as of now. He is glad that he has achieved his ambition despite the adversities.


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