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Presenting our #RethinkTheBias series where we share stories of resilience from our associates. Next in the series, we have the story of Suresh Lokanathan.
"I was born as a "blue baby" due to a nerve defect in my brain. Early on, my family realized that my physical movements were severely restricted. Walking became a hazard due to the lack of coordination between my brain and body, resulting in frequent falls. Over time, I was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, a condition that left me with an intelligent mind trapped in an uncontrollable body. Doctors advised my parents to enroll me in a regular school.
In the late seventies, being neurodivergent was often shunned, ridiculed and sometimes frowned upon. Once I understood that biases were a part of my life, I started putting more effort into my studies. I tried to acquire knowledge to work around them. This often worked in my favour and opened some doors of success for me.
However, after I proved my ability, I received enormous support from society and the people I was associated with. My school and college principals took special care of me and ensured that I didn’t face undue adversities.
Landing a corporate job was quite difficult. There were a lot of rejections before I got accepted by M&M. I am currently holding the designation of a Manager, Head Office Accounts. My story testifies that Mahindra had embraced the concept of inclusion 30 years ago.
I believe my mother and I have put in four times the effort I have to ensure that I reach the position I have accomplished today.
A diverse, inclusive, and equitable world had been a distant dream for me. But I see a ray of hope now as society is beginning to understand the needs of differently-abled people and their acceptance is on the Rise. Corporates are providing opportunities to differently-abled people in positions that are suited for them. Differently-abled persons must also build the required skill set for corporates and society to accept them as a gainful resource.
The entry barriers for differently abled people are very high for jobs at senior levels. Differently-abled people often end up at the bottom end of the pyramid and don’t reach their full potential. As technology advances, personal bias tends to disappear, and it acts as a great enabler.”