by Swatee Jog
I first met him at the education expo where he confidently came and inquired about the MBA course. Perhaps satisfied with the answers, he visited the college too. Then he (with his much supportive parents) fought a tough battle for eligibility to the MBA course and won a seat. We got introduced to Sanket Mamdapur as a fighter at that very moment. A problem at birth has rendered him immobile waist-down. Hence, he has to use his upper body to push his lifeless limbs forward at every step. For years, he has waged a battle with his crutches and the calipers on his limbs. He has been through immense pain and hardships since birth. But he has emerged victorious with sheer grit, determination and an extremely positive attitude towards life.
Bharatesh Global Business School, where he completed his MBA, had the classrooms on the first and second floor and Sanket never complained or asked for any change. The college installed railings throughout the three floors just for him. And he climbed all the way up all by himself, every single day, without any help. A peon was assigned just for him. Always on the first bench, he never expected anyone to even pull the chair for him. His classmates, however, rushed to help him. The college had a congenial atmosphere where faculty, non-teaching staff, support staff and classmates created a supportive environment for him.
Sanket has fought his way up to a great job in the HR dept. of Infosys. His messages from the Infosys Mysore campus, his calls from Bangalore and meeting him while he’s in Belgaum over the weekend not only makes us misty-eyed but extremely proud. It is not easy leading a life the way he has led. Having extremely supportive parents has been a blessing.
Many would recall his struggles at St. Paul’s and later at Gogte BCA. The schools and colleges have been supportive, but the biggest strength is what he draws from within. His spirit is always positive, jolly and full of vigor. He smiles more than all of us put together. He cracks jokes like a pro and has never missed a chance to pull off one jolly one on me too! Once when I saw him skip two steps and jump down straight with the crutches, I shouted with fear that he may skid and fall. He gave out a hearty laugh because that was his bit of practiced adventure, and said ‘‘What worse can happen if I fall?”. And there was not a trace of sadness in it.
Sanket never made his physical difficulty an issue or a hurdle in his life. He rides his Activa smoothly and moves around town. He even participated in the Industrial visit to Mumbai where he visited Zee TV and Bombay Stock Exchange. I recall him accompanying us to Kaneri Math in Kolhapur, to Menon and Menon, where the polished industrial floor was no deterrent for him. His assignments used to be in time and he diligently attended every single day for his internship at Abhishek Alloys. I guess it is his infectious positivity and Joie de vivre that makes him so much normal that he effortlessly gels with those around him.
The best moment was when he sang the song ‘Itti si khushi, itti si hassi” from Barfi, on stage for the farewell function of his seniors. When he grabbed his job, his call made our day! He gushes about the facilities at Infosys, the friendly colleagues, the support he gets from everybody and the work that he so loves. Sanket Mamdapur is a lesson in perseverance to all of us who give up because life throws lemons at us. Sanket not only made some lemonade, he’s relishing it too.