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Meet the doctor who failed in medical and civil exams

Last updated on: May 7, 2012 18:04 IST

Meet the doctor who failed in medical and civil exams

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Dr Srinivas Marmamula, Careers360

In this ongoing series, we bring you 30 stories of struggle, survival and success to inspire you.

Like many Indian students he aspired to be a doctor. Fate, though, had other plans.

Dr Srinivas Marmamula, Optometrist and Public Health professional, shares how he managed to create a niche for himself despite these academic setbacks.

I always nurtured big dreams; I wanted to study abroad and be a doctor.

But reality was different. My father always made it clear that he could not afford higher education such as medicine or engineering, or even graduation for that matter.

He urged me to seek early employment, and hence take up a course at ITI or any technical course, which could help secure a job as early as possible.

Then one day in 1993, there was a paper advertisement about a Diploma in Ophthalmic Techniques at LV Prasad Eye Institute (Hyderabad).

My father immediately got an application form from LVPEI and told me to apply for this course as he felt that I would get a job after it. Though reluctant initially, I felt it was great opportunity to be away from home.

I saw several advantages; I could get same space for studying and preparing for the medical entrance, I would get a stipend of Rs 300 which would mean I need not be dependent on my father for pocket money.

But it was a stop-gap arrangement for me. I thought would clear the medical entrance, then leave LVPEI.

When I failed medical, I thought I would try the civil services and then leave LVPEI.

After failing to clear the civil services entrance twice, I finally decided to stay back in LVPEI. As destiny has it, I am still around after 17-18 years!

The author is Associate Optometrist and Public Health Specialist at LVPEI's International Centre for Advancement of Rural Eye care in Hyderabad.

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Image: Dr Srinivas Marmamula
Photographs: Careers360

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'Long working hours, rigorous discipline and continuous learning were big challenges'

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My optometry training at LVPEI was mostly hands-on.

It was tough and demanding to work with legends in the clinics.

Long working hours, rigorous discipline and continuous learning were big challenges for me as a student at LVPEI.

Looking back, I realise now that these are the very challenges that made me what I am today and will remain the guiding force for tomorrow. 

I was very fortunate to work closely and learn from all the senior consultants in their clinics.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh




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'I am the first person to arrive in every class'

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I still remember the incident that happened during my very first month at LVPEI when the founder Dr Rao saw me coming late to the morning class and warned me to be on time every time.

I was late only by a minute! I learnt a lesson that day and now 18 years down the line I have never been late to any class.

In fact, I am the first person to arrive in every class and many who know me will vouch for it.

Working at the institute, I realised that there are ample opportunities for growth for those who are willing to put in their best efforts.

After working for five years or if one gives a commitment for five years, an opportunity is given to pursue PhD.

This is a great opportunity for people like me as I could not afford to leave my job and go for higher education, despite aspiring for higher education.

Illustration: Dominic Xavier




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'I gave up clinical duties and started on the path that I had dreamt of'

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When I expressed my interest in public health to Dr. Rao in one of our meetings, he readily gave me a part time position at LVPEI's Institute for the Advancement of Rural Eyecare (ICARE).

I went to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London, for my Masters in Public Health in eye care.

Since then there was no looking back.

I consolidated my position in ICARE, gave up clinical duties and started on the path that I had dreamt of.

Illustration: Dominic Xavier




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'The passion to take quality eye care to the remotest corners inspires me'

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Playing an important role in the Andhra Pradesh Eye Disease Study (APEDS) project, the landmark study that brought laurels to the institute, and then developing the Vision Technicians' course and helping in the realisation of Dr. Rao's vision of Vision Centres (primary eye care centres in remote rural villages) are my major achievements that I feel proud of.

My inspiration, just as for many others in the institute, is Dr. Gullapalli N Rao.

The passion to take quality eye care to the remotest corners of the state and the country, his leadership and near perfect execution continues to inspire me.

I am very fortunate to work in close association with him over the years.

He continues to throw new challenges at us and at the same time remain the motivating factor for us in everything that we do.

Illustration: Dominic Xavier




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