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Government school, Tamil medium, poverty in family and marginalised social status…all these factors are seen as deterrents to success. Yet Aravindhraj triumphed over all the heavy odds stacked against his education, and finally donned the coat of a doctor.
Born into a marginalised family in Kolathur, 25 km from Perambalur, having lost his father — a tea master in a stall in the village — and burdened with the responsibility of taking care of his four elder sisters and his mother, Aravindhraj had all the reasons to drop out of school for the sake of earning a living. Yet he stuck to his education with passion and perseverance as his sisters and mother sacrificed for his sake. He studied in Tamil medium at Perambalur Government Higher Secondary School under the ‘Super 30’ scheme introduced to help academically distinguished students. This led him to join Thoothukudi Medical College and pursue medicine with unabated passion.
Dr T Aravindhraj shares his life story with inmathi.com, a tale of how success comes to the passionate and relentless.
“After my father died of a cardiac arrest, the onus of taking care of the family fell on my mother Kalaichelvi who had to make ends meet, labouring in the forest. Poverty had forced three of my four elder sisters to drop out of school and chip in to keep our family going. My last elder sister alone was able to study up to plus two. All of them have been married off.
I used to double up as a labourer till class 10. I earned the distinction of being the topper in the class 10 exams at Kolathur High School in 2013. Poverty had allowed no space for special coaching, so I had to fend for myself academically,” he says.
After my father died of a cardiac arrest, the onus of taking care of the family fell on my mother Kalaichelvi who had to make ends meet, labouring in the forest. Poverty had forced three of my four elder sisters to drop out of school and chip in to keep our family going
Dr Aravindhraj is thankful to then Perambalur District Collector Darez Ahamed who, he said, introduced the ‘Super 30’ scheme for identifying students who score top marks in class 10 exams and training them in the plus two to enable them to pursue a degree in medicine later. Under this scheme, he says, he was selected and provided the facility of a residential school for his plus two course. That was a watershed moment in his life, he says, for it triggered a change in his ambition. Till that time, “I wanted to pursue BA and write the civil services exam. But my maths teacher Babu gave me hopes of becoming a doctor,” he says.
Attributing his success to the sincere and selfless coaching by his teachers, Dr Aravindhraj says, “We were lucky enough to have such dedicated teachers who took all pains to clear our doubts over lessons. Particularly, our hostel warden Periyasamy used to wake us up with cups of coffee and provide us tea during night studies.”
Aravindhraj scored 1,119 out of 1,200 marks and based on the cut-off mark of 192.75, got admission in the government quota at Thoothukudi Medical College along with three of his classmates.
When he faced the problem of MBBS expenses, he got it solved with the help of government scholarship, Canara Bank loan and monetary aid provided by Anbazhagan, husband of one of his elder sisters and his teachers Babu and Ramakrishnan as well.
Dr Aravindhraj recalls with gratitude the role played by several kind-hearted people in shaping him into a doctor.
Before he finished his course in 2020, he had several problems that he somehow solved with the help of some good people. When he had hiccups in understanding the lessons taught in English as he had done his schooling in Tamil medium, his classmates helped and inspired him to learn English and pick up the lessons.
The first graduate in his family, Dr Aravindhraj, working now in a private hospital in Thoothukudi, has married Muthuselvi, a BCom degree-holder, also the first graduate of her family.
Attributing his success to the sincere and selfless coaching by his teachers, Dr Aravindraj says, “We were lucky enough to have such dedicated teachers who took all pains to clear our doubts over lessons. Particularly, our hostel warden Periyasamy used to wake us up with cups of coffee and provide us tea during night studies.”
To show his gratitude to his sister Vijayakumari who had to drop out of school for the sake of his education, Dr Aravindraj is helping her son prepare for NEET in several ways. Vijayakumari’s son has also finished his plus two under the Super 30 scheme in Perambalur Govt Higher Secondary School and is also pursuing his dream of becoming a doctor.
As an alumnus, Dr Aravindhraj has been helping the students of the Perambalur school by paying for their food expenses, as well.
Right now he is waiting for an opportunity to either become a government doctor or a bureaucrat and sweating it out, preparing for the exams concerned.
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