Persevering Despite The Odds

By Vasumathi Sriganesh

"Mom / Dad - I made it!! I've got into medical college. Yippeee.....!" Remember the warm feeling - "I've achieved what I wanted to; my life is made"? But some time later a different feeling creeps in - "Something is wrong. And I didn't bargain for this...."!

Long road ahead

Welcome to the club. The members who learn that "Life actually begins now"! "Now”??? Hey wait a minute - I've been through the worst... torturous board exams and all that. And life begins now? Meaning the tough part? You’ve got to be kidding.

Now this does not mean that life is NOT fun. Lots of it is. But with that – like a coin – it has both heads and tails. So you will have girl friends / boy friends dumping you, someone plagiarizing your thesis, failing in exams, jobs ditching you at the last minute, suicides... the list can be endless. Do you want to stop reading now? Or learn a bit about how to "Persevere despite the odds".

Want to know my story? I was all of 13 when my dad died, leaving my two brothers, my mom and me with no “next month’s salary”. Luckily my grandparents helped. Two years later my grand-dad died. This meant that even though I was the best at academics, and wanted to do medicine, it was my brothers who got to study further. I got married after graduation.

After 12 years of being a home maker I studied Library & Information Sciences. Worked in a couple of libraries. Got lousy salaries for my work that was rated excellent. Then tried entrepreneurship. Sunk in lots of money and did not recover it. But… had a family and friends who encouraged and encouraged. Today I am well known & respected in the medical circles. Someone who teaches medical students and doctors. In a niche area. A life where Heads and Tails appeared alternately.

My aunt calls it a “back-door entry”! And admires me lots for it. Am I successful? A big YES. I am doing what I want to do – combining my love for medicine AND teaching AND computers. I love what I do!

Will get there at some point ;-)

What I learnt along the path:

  1. Life has “odds” for EVERYONE. You are not alone.
  2. Use this two word mantra - "What next"? You cannot change the past. Treat it like garbage. Dump it. Spend every bit of energy on "What next" instead of on the past.
  3. Here comes a paradoxical one. Whatever you do - you will go through what is destined for you. And yet... you cannot simply sit and say "let destiny take its course". You simply HAVE to work with goals and objectives! And give it ALL that it takes. (Could you see this in my story?)
  4. Remember the overall Universe is fair – life is not.
  5. Be firm like the rock at the edge of the sea – take calm waves as well as angry waves
  6. Listen to everyone, but finally listen to your inner voice. That is the only voice that tells you what YOU want to do!

So take your pick. Crib and rant; curse your fate, curse everyone else who spoiled things for you. Or think. Do you wish to persevere? If you say yes, you simply have to succeed.



Vasumathi Sriganesh

CEO, QMed Knowledge Foundation

Vasumathi Sriganesh and her team at QMed Knowledge Foundation are doing some path-breaking work in helping medical students become great doctors. In addition to her teaching and training, "Vasu ma'm", as she is referred to by us fledglings, loves to spend her time reading, listening to music and participating in Art of Living programs. Over the past few years however, her immense popularity with medical students has resulted in her having even lesser time for leisure and having to spend more time in call/chat/text conversations with her students. To her credit, she still keeps a radiant smile on her face and is there to cheerlead "her kids" whenever they need her!