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A student hailing from a below poverty line family in Vayaloor near Kalpakkam studied in a Tamil medium school and went on to complete his Phd in Physics and later joined the prestigious Bangor University in Wales, England as a Post Doctoral Research Officer. At 34 years of age, E Jayaprashath is a young achiever and owes his success to a good Samaritan couple in Kalpakkam.

Jayaprashath hails from Vayaloor. His house was a simple thatched roof hut and his father Elumalai works as a building construction worker while his mother Kanniyammal worked alongside his father at construction sites as a labourer. He has two younger sisters, with the older, Jayasree getting married after completing her Class 9. The next sister Sukanya completed her Class 12 and went on to complete a diploma in Medical Lab Technology.  This enabled her to get employed on a contract basis at the Indira Gandhi Atomic Research Centre.

A couple, Sridhar and his wife Kalavathy, both working in the Indira Gandhi Atomic Research Centre as scientists, took special interest in drafting his career. They would identify three students in their Class 9 and mentor them until Class 12, on to college. The students would eat in their houses and study there.

After retirement, last year Sridhar passed away. One of the students who studied in their house was Jayaprashath.

Born in an underprivileged family, Jayaprashath shared his journey from Vayaloor to Bangor University and some of his life events to us.

“I was studying in Tamil medium in the Government School, Vayaloor till Class 8. Sridhar used to visit our school for taking tuitions. I have also taken tuitions from him and he knew me very well. One day he enquired whether I would be interested to reside in his house to continue my education. He spoke to my parents about this. I wanted to study well and come up in life. I started living in his house and got admitted to Class 9 at the Government High School at Sadurangapattinam.

A couple, Sridhar and his wife Kalavathy, both working in the Indira Gandhi Atomic Research Centre as scientists, took special interest and care in supporting and mentoring Jayaprashath

He treated everyone alike and equal in his house.  We had to get up early in the morning and start the day with yoga exercises. We had to read The Hindu newspaper daily. He would then ask our opinion and views on important news.  We had access to his collection of books but the rule was that the books had to be kept in their respective place after reading, neatly stacked and arranged. Each one had to do household chores also, as per their capabilities. We had to clean our plates on which we ate food. These chores looked very new to me as I had not done such work in my house.

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In our house, we would continue playing in the evening after sunset. But here, we could play only till sunset.  We had to assemble for our studies soon after. While Sridhar taught us Mathematics, Kalavathy used to teach all the other subjects.

We used to visit our houses once in a while. If my mother’s construction work site was nearby, she would drop in to see me. On holidays, Dr Pugazhendi and Dr Murugesan would come to the house and do a health checkup. Although we were living near Chennai, I never travelled on nor boarded a train. Sridhar took us to Chennai for experiencing travel by Metro. Both of them showered their love on us.  We were taken care just like their own children. Now I realise very well how living in their house helped me in my life and career.

In my Class 10 examination in 2003, I scored 402 out of 500 marks and a perfect 100 in Mathematics.  I continued my Class 11 in the same school with Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Computer Science.  In my Class 12 exams, I scored 902 marks out of 1200.

In 2005, I was able to secure admission in Loyola College, Chennai for BSc Physics. Sridhar paid the entire tuition fees. My family paid the hostel charges and I received Rs 7,000 from the college and also education scholarship, later. This ensured I could continue my education there.

For cleaning classrooms and ensuring their cleanliness, the work was assigned on part time basis and they were paying Rs 20 per hour.  I used to do this work from 5:30 am till 7:30 am, two hours.  That money came in very handy for meeting my other expenses during my college days.  I completed my BSc securing 65% marks.

I received an offer and fellowship to carry out research in South West University, Sanguing, China for two years.  In December 2019, I received an offer of employment as Post Doctoral Research Officer at Bangor University in Wales, England

Seen with the Sridhar and Kalavathy are Jayaprashath, R Govindarajan and M Jaishankar. The students lived in their residence to complete their school education (2003).

In 2008, I wrote the entrance test for MSc (Physics) in Central University, Puducherry, and secured admission. I continued to visit Sridhar and seek his guidance on my lessons. He had laid a very strong foundation and taught me the basics very well. This enabled me to understand the lessons taught in the university easily.  We used to get our questions answered by Professor Sathyanarayana of the Central University, Puducherry.

I enrolled in Central University, Puducherry for pursuing my doctorate. My doctoral thesis was on Semiconductor Laser Dynamics.  My research guide was S Shivaprakasam.  I received a fellowship of Rs 5,000 every month from the university which was hiked to Rs 8,000 in the second year.  Meanwhile, under the UGC PSR Scheme, I received an assistance of Rs 17,000.  This is a special aid under the CSIR scheme for students pursing special projects and I was chosen for this.  During the fourth year of my PhD, I was chosen to receive the CSIR Senior Research Fellowship. So till 2016, every month I received Rs 33,000 and house rent allowance.  My mother passed away in 2013. Next year, I got married to Shantha Sofia of Karaikudi who was studying MSc, Earth Science, in Pondicherry University.

After completing my Phd in 2017, I joined the Mat Science Institute in Taramani, Chennai as fellow for my post-doctoral studies. At that time, I received a fellowship offer for two-year research at the South West University, Sanguing, China. I was there from September 2017 till November 2019.  Then in December 2019, I received the employment offer from Bangor University, Wales, England as Post-Doctoral Research Officer.  I am presently involved in research work on the applications of semiconductor.  It is a study conducted for the adaptation and application of required speed levels in communication for 5G and 6G Technological advancements. I may be here till 2023 and my contract might get extended too. On completing three and half years of employment, I am eligible to receive permanent residency. If I get any teaching assignments from IIT or IISER, I would shift to India. Sridhar and Kalavathy have enabled me to climb great heights. I can never forget their contribution, love, care and concern. They were noble souls.”

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