Anannya Kodandera

VII Sem, Biotechnology

Lights flash in the eyes of a 20-year young dream-filled lad, Mohammed Ashraf from Mysore, when asked to speak about his run up to a success story that he meticulously crafted for himself.

            Born on the 10th of May in 1994, as the fourth child to his parents who were economically challenged, in a small village called Hebbarihundi near Srirangapatna in the Mandya district of Karnataka, Ashraf lost his father when he was a year old. His challenges began and he was ready, as was another hero- Tipu Sultan- from the same place, 300 years ago.

            His maternal uncle, who Ashraf adores, took care of the baby and in 1999 admitted him to Apna Ghar – Muslim Boys’ Orphanage at Mysore. For one whole year, he did not go to school and then was put in an Urdu medium school for his schooling from class 1 through 7. The next hurdle was when he was put to Al Kabeer High School for class 8 and the medium of instruction was English. Ashraf felt it was an uphill task and would come back crying feeling hopeless.

            Ashraf’s warden played the role of a mother, counseling and consoling him, even arranged a teacher to teach Ashraf English. Ashraf started growing, not just physically, but in his confidence too.

            He secured first class marks in his 10th standard board examinations and joined Vidya Vikas Polytechnic, though he dreamt of becoming an Astronaut. He fared well and got a lateral admission to pursue his undergraduate course.

            14 years of his young life, he has been away from home, nurturing his dreams passionately and achieving success in small but definite ways, all the time aiming for the stars. He still has the streak of an astronaut trying to explore the vast universe and breaking free of the earth’s gravity.

            Ashraf has an elder brother and two elder sisters who all love him so much and one can see that in their starry eyes, seeing their younger brother fly high.

            He is currently pursuing his bachelors degree in Commerce with an intense desire to excel at managing Human Resources. He has strategically planned and worked out on how to tactically execute it over the next ten years. He was preparing for his civil services examinations and has always kept aiming at jobs and assignments.

            While he was working on making his life spread the way he wanted, destiny was working to make it happen. A series of tests, evaluations, interviews and voila! He was chosen for a scholarship that would enable him to study Business Management in the land of dreams, the United States of America.

            While his head was looking up into the skies, he was naturally wired to have his feet firmly grounded. His bonding with his family, the sheer excitement of going across seas to a far off land, the anxiety of walking a journey of possibilities, the challenges of coping with the demands of a bigger world and the latent feeling of a poignant sense of leaving his loved ones behind for one whole year. All these thoughts roll like that on a kaleidoscope of a child rolling it fast and rapid in his mind, sometimes up and down, sometimes left to right.

            A firm believer in the critical importance that education holds as he has experienced it himself and ensures that he walks the talk by spreading it amongst his younger friends and children he meets. He strongly feels that when one refers to God as HE, HE is Hard work and Education.

            Ashraf tutors younger children on the nuances of the English language by teaching them. He teaches them other subjects of their school curriculum and pledges commitment and dedication to train them to succeed at getting scholarships like the one he was ‘lucky’ to get. He is an ardent lover of the game of football and he finds time, despite his tightly packed schedule during the day.

            He ascribes his success to dedicated hard work and reverence to elders. He says, “Anyone with blessings can go up and long, surely.”

            “Education is the only way atrocity can be abolished. With education, we can learn to live life in a good way and achieve success.”, says Ashraf with a feeling of gratification.

            For us at Make A Difference, ASHRAF has magic in his name . . . Achievements Start Happening by Responsibly Altering Focus.