Daijiworld Media Network
Bangalore, Jun 21: This is the success story of a young lad from Raichur district, a total illiterate now heading a computer team in a leading BPO. This is an ample example for all those who believe in sheer hard work, dedication and will to learn.
Ramesh Ballid had never even seen a school door, as he was born and brought up in an extremely poor family, where the parents had six children, of whom only some managed to reach until the steps of school. His parents had no expectations from Ramesh, as everyone thought he was born dead. New born Ramesh had not shown any movement, and the family planned to bury him within the first few days. But just before the burial rites, someone found breath in him and he was taken back!
He became a cowherd, taking the buffaloes out to graze early morning and returning in the evening. He never knew anything reading or writing. The only passtime he had was watching movies, and like every little boy, he was awed by the fights and stunts on the screen and wanted to become an actor.
A Hero Creates Another Hero
Well, creation of a hero by another hero is a very rare happening in our society. We see only within out families - a father guides son, brother guides brother or close kin and relatives do that. But Rajesh Bhatt, a young engineer from Sirsi in North Karnataka was the person who brought Ramesh to limelight. Rajesh initiated a company called 'Head Held High' with the support of his friends to identify illiterate villagers and transform them into a “work-ready” blue collar persons.
Rajesh was a software engineer at a mobile VAS company, OnMobile, before he started working on Head Held High. Rajesh hails from a remote village in Sirsi, Karnataka and believes that he was lucky to have gotten the right breaks in his life. His mission is to give that break to as many people as possible. Rajesh executed the vision, designed and created the breakthrough training that made this dream to transform an illiterate villager into a “work-ready” blue collar person in 6 months.
Along with his friends, he visited Devadurga village of Chitradurga to identify illiterate youths. Ramesh was one of the few youths he summoned for interview.
According to Rajesh Bhatt, it was in 2007 June that he met Ramesh for the first time. He looked like everyone else whose roots are well entrenched in a village. Gruff, slightly afraid, conscious and not very forthcoming at all. He asked him to say “My name is Ramesh.” He couldn’t pronounce it properly. He tried for half an hour and couldn’t say it properly. Rajesh was confused as to whether to select him for the training.
Rajesh asked him to sit in a corner of the interview room and practise. After about two hours, when all the interviews were over, Rajesh asked him to leave. But, Ramesh stood up, stretched his hands for a handshake and said, “My name is Ramesh. ‘Tenk’ you.” That was the turning point - Rajesh and his team decided to select him for training !
A New Beginning...
When Ramesh reached Bangalore, it was like a dream come true for him. He had seen cities only in movies, but in real life he never thought he would be there ! He found it extremely difficult to cope with his training, and had to be trained from A to Z. But he had all the determination in the world to learn new things.
'Head Held High' Foundation has well-planned training programmes for such youngsters. With Ramesh, there were eight other youngsters aged between 15 and 18 undergoing training in his batch.
"Ramesh found everything difficult to learn initially, but slowly he picked up. He picked the English language while watching movies, roaming around city, and surfing online," says Rajesh.
"As he became more confident, he started using the computer, and slowly started learning the Internet. Once he learnt how to Google, it became his best friend. He tried to search everything in Google, though in the beginning he would only understand what was in pictures," says Rajesh.
Ramesh's first test came when he was five months into training. He had practised every word he was supposed to speak. Ramesh came out with flying colours – he truly stood there and spoke – for the first time on stage and in English. This was the beginning of a new future, where he started believing that he might just be able to stand up and become something in his life.
(LEFT) In Sep 2007, Ramesh could not read or write and he was afraid of many things.
(RIGHT) By Mar 2008, Ramesh had undergone a transformation so drastic, his mom did not recognise him!
Ramesh, after about six months of training, went back to his home for his brother’s wedding. His mother, who hadn’t seen him for over six months, couldn’t recognize him. She had to be shown his identity card where his earlier photo was printed to truly believe that it was her son!
And his First Job...
After the hectic training, Ramesh managed to type English words fast. His speed was 60 words per minute. He was given a typing job. He became an employee, and that was something he could not have even dreamed of before !
In four years, Ramesh has transformed fully - his looks have changed, his attitude has changed, and indeed in one word, his life, his world has changed!
Today, he is a team leader in a BPO, in the computer department.
When a TV channel identified him for its 'real hero' award, he got an opportunity to brush shoulders with the likes of Mukesh Ambani, Asha Bhosle, Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble and many others. Everyone had one only question - "How did you manage to learn so quickly?"
Rajesh Bhat, who created a hero out of Ramesh, is the man to be recognized for this great gesture. But Rajesh says, "Ramesh is now like a torchbearer who brings hopes to the lives of many more people like him in his village. And there, a lot of people, including those who have much more formal education than him, look up to him. His dream is to empower thousands more like him."