“I could have become a national handball player or served in the Army. But due to a lack of guidance at the right time, I failed to achieve either,” notes Dr Raghavendra R, a professor from Mysuru.
Dr Raghavendra works as a National Service Scheme coordinator at the Seshadripuram Degree College in Mandya district. He says that while he has had a stable and successful career, the regret of not having received adequate guidance has continued to gnaw at him at the back of his mind.
Sharing experiences from his early days, the 39-year-old tells The Better India, “I had won silver and bronze medals at multiple state-level events. I wanted to be an athlete, but could not access the required training. I had no friends or family who could guide me.”
In 2000-2001, he decided to join the Indian Army. However, a procedure he had undergone in his teenage years, wherein he had his teeth removed, prevented him from entering the defence forces.
“I failed the medical test, which is a mandatory process for the qualification. If I had known about the procedure, I would have been more careful to follow the medical protocol and take precautions during the dental treatment. It would have saved me time and effort. Moreover, it could have let me pursue other competitive examinations, if not the Army. However, crucial time was lost in the process,” he says.
To ensure that no one in his position has to face the same fate, Dr Raghavendra provides free training to students to help them qualify for competitive examinations.
Finding happiness in others’ success
Dr Raghavendra says he pursued graduation and then a PhD in physical education. “I decided to help students in my spare time,” he says.
He started by approaching college students from various departments, including engineering. “Many students aspire and prepare for competitive examinations during their academic years. But at times, they do not know how to choose the right subjects or fill the application form correctly,” he explains.
To assist students with this, Dr Raghavendra launched Achiever’s Academy in 2013 and since has trained hundreds of students, he says.
“I conduct fitness training such as marathons, which are about 12 km long. The participants are provided with a healthy breakfast and coaching post-work hours. Aspirants are also told in detail about the qualification criteria and process,” he says.
In the past nine years, his efforts have helped 200 students crack competitive examinations to join forces including the Army, police services, and others.
“Some students do not have shoes to appear for the physical test, while others have no clothes to match the appropriate dress code. Some don’t have money to travel. I help them in every possible way,” Dr Raghavendra says, adding that he has helped almost 3,000 students in multiple ways.
He says, “Not all students succeed on all occasions or examinations. But I must give them the opportunity they deserve to compete. If the students secure a job or make a career they dream of, it becomes my achievement as well.”
Nisarga K S, an engineering graduate, says she aspires to be a police sub-inspector. “I learned about the free coaching through a newspaper advertisement. I had no one to guide and wanted advice through the journey of competing in the police services examinations,” she says.
Nisarga says she received physical training under Dr Raghavendra for six months, which helped build her stamina and physique to become eligible. “I cleared the physical round and will soon be appearing for the written examination. I feel confident and motivated about participating, thanks to the coaching,” she adds.
Dr Raghavendra says that he does not intend to charge the students any fees in the future and that hopefully, the number of students will increase with time. “It is my way of contributing to society,” he adds.
On concluding notes, he says, “Life is short, and we have to make it sweet. My way is by helping the younger generation build their dream careers and fulfil ambitions that I could not.”
Edited by Divya Sethu