His mother had some money, and support from her parents. But all of a sudden, they became a “low income” family. Young Ganesh, his mother and siblings moved to Chennai from Kumbakonam. “My brother was 14 years old when my father expired, so he started working at an early age to support the family. Because of him, my elder sister and I could complete our studies.” It was a corporation school and a government college, but it was an education nevertheless. At Government College, Nandanam, Ganesh
participated in an NSS project where he taught slum children in the evenings. It was his first exposure to the joy of teaching. “I was very good at mathematics, I realised this is something I like. If even a slum student can understand what I am teaching it means I have the capacity to train people!” Meanwhile Ganesh completed his BSc in Physics and landed a job with the Indian Express. In 1981, a T 750 stipend and management trainee position was a very big opportunity. But Ganesh had no interest in taking it up. “I told my mother I want to be independent.” She said, “You are making a big mistake. What will you do?” Ganesh said, “I will take up social service - or I will do something on my own.” She said, “No, I will not permit you. You are getting a job, you will become an officer and take the family to greater heights.” But Ganesh was adamant, so finally his mother decided to consult the family astrologer. The astrologer saw Ganesh’s palm, his charts and said, “Even if he joins the company, he will not stay there long. Better you let him do what he wants.” So his mother relented. Now she asked, “What are you going to do?” Ganesh said, “I think I am good at teaching. I will take up a teaching post or try on my own. You don’t worry about me… just give me food and shelter. I will do something!” You don’t always have a definite plan, but you have some inclination. And if you are wise, that will become your compass and lead you, in the
right direction. It was in this phase of wondering ‘where to start’ and ‘what to do’ that Ganesh noticed a bungalow with a thatched roof in Nandanam extension. Boldly, Ganesh went up to the house owner and asked him to rent the place to him. “What will you do here?” the owner asked. “I am planning to take tuition classes for students,” Ganesh replied. He said, “OK. Pay me T 500 as advance for 3 months and T 175 per month as rent.” Now where would Ganesh find T 500? Simple - he begged his mother to lend the money, promising to return it in a few months. Reluctantly, she agreed. And that was how the journey began… Ganesh spruced up the bungalow a bit and then started marketing his services. “That means I found three students who had failed in their plus two examinations,” he grins.
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