If you thought cracking CAT was challenging, 21-year-old Yash Avadhesh Gandhi’s journey to IIM-Lucknow should count as an epic story of triumph against all odds.
Yash has cerebral palsy, dyslexia and dysarthria, a condition that weakens the muscles we need for speech. But none of these conditions could prevent him from acing CAT-2019 with a percentile score of 92.5.
Making it to IIM-Lucknow under the persons with disabilities quota for the academic session 2020-22, the gritty and gregarious Mumbaikar couldn’t be happier. “I am delighted to be a part of IIM-L,” Yash, who has been attending online classes from home since last month, told TOI.
Yash had started preparing for CAT in July 2018, when he was still in the second year of his graduation course. “I face problems with numbers. So, I had to put in extra effort, particularly in the quantitative ability section. It was tough but not impossible,” he said.
His hard work and perseverance paid off when he got interview calls from all the top IIMs, except Bangalore. He received offer letters from IIM Kozhikode and Indore, but chose Lucknow because it is ranked higher.
Yash’s parents are his support system. “When he joined school, he faced difficulty learning and wasn’t able to compete with his peers. But he picked up gradually. He has always had to work harder than normal children,” Yash’s father Avadhesh Gandhi, who works in a private firm, said.
While studying for CAT, there came a point when Yash was so depressed that he almost decided to give up. “I told him that he has the capability to do anything. After this, Yash started all over again,” said his mother Jignasha, who works as a supervisor in a kitchen where mid-day school meals are cooked.
The young man has a special place in his heart for his mentor and “spiritual brother”, Harshit Hindocha. “Always calm and composed, he never gives up easily,” Harshit said.