Why the decision not to commit suicide was the best decision of my life?

Sanjay Nediyara
5 min readOct 28, 2014

Because you have no idea what life has in store for you.

The first failure I saw in my life was during my teens when my dad’s company failed and we were completely immersed in debt. Though I could observe everything, I was helpless. But there was one thing, I was amazed at my dad’s endurance. He never gave up.

Never Ever, Ever, Give up.

We started catching up with life and towards the end of my secondary school, I was diagnosed with measles which later left me partially hearing disabled. Life was hard, but I could manage with the support of hearing aids. I managed to get into one of the top engineering institutions in the state, Government Engineering College, Thrissur, and pursue my long-time dream for Computer Science and Engineering.

Life was good until one day when I woke up to find that I was deaf. Imagine that you wake up from your evening nap and cannot even hear your own voice or talk to your friends or parents. Suddenly it was like you were taken away from this world while physically being here. The worst of all was that you see everyone around you saddened, but you cannot do anything about it. You see your friends with teary eyes, then you act as if you did not see that.

Towards the end of 2011, I could not complete my college degree, I had loads of back papers, I did not have any particular skill for a job, or I could hardly even talk to anyone. I couldn’t see a way out, I did not have any skills nor I know a way to catch up, without talking or hearing, how can I even expect to learn something? Even if I manage to learn by myself, how can I work in a company? How can I work in a team? The most plausible solution was to restart life or at least end this one hoping to get a better one next time.

But given all these, why did I choose not to commit suicide? There were precisely two reasons,

  1. My parents — who brought me up with all their time and effort, I was the only child. All their dreams about me would be shattered in a day and there was no going back.
  2. If I end my life during a failure —I will always remain a failure. I don’t have a chance to get back up, EVER. If I choose to fight I have a little chance, if I fail — it didn’t make any difference, I was a failure already.

So I chose to fight and get back up.

When you chose to get back up, when you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you will be successful.

I’ve often heard people advise viz, forget you have a disability, and live life, like normal. NEVER. Understand your disability, accept it, and think about how you can overcome the particular disability, not by forgetting but by accepting and understanding your weakness.

In my case, I choose alternate communication mechanisms— the internet, email, and social media. It was incredible, I was exposed to a world bigger than what I could ever imagine.

I was able to interact with people from across the globe, exchange ideas, and work on projects together. Platforms like StackOverflow were immensely helpful which also helped me to find like-minded people such as Paresh Mayani which again lead to further learning and exposure.

When you are successful, it's not just you. It takes a lot of kind people who help you when in need. It can be your doctor Thomas who always understand your situation, a Primal Pappachan who helps you to get started with Android Programming or a Vinod sir who gives you the first job without any interview and challenge you to do a project after self-study or your uncle Kishore Kumar who helps you immensely to set up your first business venture, or an Uttam Kumar Tripathi who always stand by you and trust you in building a community or an Amrit Sanjeev who never fails to inspire you or your super awesome friends who never leave you what-so-ever. Nidu, Sandeep, Nikhil, Joel, Joe, Varkey, Ajay, Sreejith, Ninto, Shaheen, Shyam, Vinu, Kannan, Martina are only a very few of them ( I don’t want to scribble the names of my friends because that’s gonna be more than a dozen)

Today I work on various projects including building a mobile representation of Startup Village — one of the most ambitious projects of State government and MobME Wireless aiming to build 1000 product startups from India. Thanks to Gautham for this opportunity ☺

Apart from that, I am working to build a community, Google Developer Group Cochin with support from Google which is currently 1000+ members strong. I mentor various students and teachers on technology adoption and serve as a technology evangelist.

This is the story of my life so far, which I wanted to share with everyone for some time now ☺ Happily looking forward to the next adventure :D

Sanjay Nediyara | sanjaynediyara@gmail.com

TIMELINE (UPDATED):

  • 2010 — I lost about 80% of my hearing.
  • 2011 — Rejected for jobs because I can’t get on client calls.
  • 2012 — Got a job paying $120 a month to learn and do programming.
  • 2015 — more learning, job, startup. Top 4% in the world on StackOverflow
  • 2016 — Job offer for $120,000.
  • 2018 — Invited for a job at Facebook, rejected to continue with my startup.

DID THESE ALONG THE WAY

  • Met the honorable President of India as invited to the Festival of Innovation 2017.
  • Built a developer community from scratch to over 1000+ people working with Google.
  • Reached over 2+ million people on StackOverflow. Top 4% in the world.
  • Forbes fellow.
  • Reach award winner by Eric Weihenmayer foundation in the US.
  • Invited by Google to attend their largest developer conference Google IO as their guest.
  • Wrote a Facebook app while learning which was used by thousands of users every month.
  • Developed and shipped over a dozen mobile apps.
  • Wrote a resource ebook to help people get started on Android which is read by thousands of people every month in 42 countries.

“The only disability in life is a bad attitude”

During the Google IO 2014 in San Francisco as an invited guest of Google.
Intel HQ during my silicon valley visit. Thanks to Bijoy!
With Developer Relations Team at Google. I’ve known them only through emails until then ☺

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Sanjay Nediyara

Forbes fellow. Previously community w/ Google. Draper University alum.