Nishant Singh and his father Sushil Kumar Singh next to the cut-out of his mother at their Kadma residence on Wednesday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
They say there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Rendered sightless by one cruel blow of fate soon after clearing ICSE in 2001, visually challenged Nishant Singh believed so as he fought against odds to continue his studies.
Eleven years and several hardships later, the 28-year-old resident of Jamshedpur’s Mango is now not only an MBA, but has also landed a plum job at Tata Steel. An elated Nishant gives the entire credit to his family, especially sister and his mother, who died of cardiac failure in December last year. But as Nishant put it, his mother’s “invisible hand” still guides him emotionally and physically and would continue to do so as he starts a new chapter in his life.
“I lost vision in both my eyes while undergoing operation for craniopharyngioma (a cyst in optic nerve) in 2001. My life took a tragic turn but I never lost hope, thanks to the constant support I received from my elder sister and mother,” said Nishant, who had appeared for ICSE from Rajendra Vidyalaya.
Though he learnt the basics of braille, his sister Sumedha, an engineer at Noida, and mother encouraged him to lead a normal life like his peers and appear for plus two exam from DBMS Career Academy with the help of writers.
“I scored 65.8 per cent and never looked back since then. I was determined to continue my studies and enrolled for BBA at Pondicherry University. I completed the course in 2007 with 87 per cent,” said a proud Nishant, who had pursued a mobility course for the visually challenged from Bangalore and could negotiate the roads in Pondicherry and Noida.
But the real challenge lay in living in Ranchi where he went to pursue postgraduate diploma in information management from XISS after cracking CAT in 2009.
“It was difficult living all by myself in Ranchi, where the people’s sense of traffic awareness towards physically and visually challenged people is very low. It was then that my mother decided to move in with me. We rented a flat in Ranchi and she stayed with me for two years and also assisted me in my studies. It’s because of her that I successfully completed my MBA last year. She is no more, but I still feel her presence in my life,” said Nishant, whose father, Sushil Kumar Singh, has kept a life-size cut-out of his wife at their house.
“My son and I don’t feel her absence. He stills touches her feet on the cut-out before going to office,” said Singh, who retired from Tata Steel on July 2011. He drops Nishant at office and also brings him home everyday.
Nishant, who is associated with the National Association of Blind, Jamshedpur chapter, had applied for bank PO exams in September, last year, and also for the management trainee (system) post in Tata Steel in October. He cleared both the exams but opted for Tata Steel.
After mandatory group interviews and medical tests, he joined as an assistant manager in the information technology services department of Tata Steel early at Kadma on May 2.