The 27-year-old Ravi Suhag may have had a humble beginning but he has now won 14 out of the 16 hackathons he has participated in in the last four years. A farmer’s son who didn’t own a computer until college has become the toast of India’s hackathon scene.
Some of the world’s wealthiest people started out dirt poor. The stories of rags-to-riches remind us that through determination, grit, hard work and a little bit of luck anyone can overcome their circumstances and achieve extraordinary success.
Early Life of Ravi Suhag
Ravi Suhag spent the first half of his schooling years at a Hindi-medium village school in Jhajjar, Haryana. There both faculty and facilities weren’t at their best. When Ravi Suhag was in the seventh grade, his father came home with a new gadget. The gadget was a combination of an FM radio and tape recorder. That day Ravi Suhag discovered his budding interest in electronics. He broke down the entire thing to pieces. Later he faced the fear that his father would kill him if he couldn’t assemble it back. Anyhow after studying for a few months, he assembled it back and made it work. After that, Ravi Suhag never stopped tinkering with all sorts of electronics—lights, radios, speakers–in a locked room.
Later, in his ninth grade, he switched to an English-medium school. He initially struggled to get comfortable with the language. After the first six months, though, Ravi Suhag began getting top marks in physics. Soon he hit the 12th grade, like many other young Indians, he had set his sights on attending one of the elite Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT). He had a drawback that his computer knowledge was limited to the likes of Microsoft Paint, and he’d never owned a computer and only seen a computer at school.
Preparation for IIT
Ravi Suhag studied with all his efforts by candlelight, snatching sleep between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. His village had spotty internet, so he decided to move to rented accommodation. Ravi Suhag shared his new home with two other boys. He spent what little free time he had listening to a fixed playlist of late 2000’s Bollywood hits. Observing his dedication and determination everyone had high hopes from him. His family, his tutors, and even Ravi Suhag himself—was confident that he would ace the competitive exam.
Suhag mentions this that his mind went blank on the exam day and couldn’t clear the IIT exam. He was crushed by the results, and spent the next few months solemn and solitary.
If not IIT then what next?
Ravi Suhag made into another engineering college—Kamrah Institute of Information Technology (KIIT) in Gurugram. A normal engineering college about which most of us haven’t even heard. There he went on to become the ideal student once again. But over time, he realised that it good grades weren’t enough.
So, while still in college, Ravi Suhag founded his own consulting firm, Inspiration Edge. He used the money he had saved by conducting tuition classes on the side. He started borrowing books from the college library to teach himself design and coding skills. These skills according to him would come in handy in the future.