He fought poverty. He was teased for his funny ‘Mallu’ accent and eating habits. He suffered from ‘racism’. He sacrificed his football career for his family.
Today, Varun Chandran, from a small Kerala village, is the CEO of his own IT company and a dollar millionaire. Remarkably, he has set up a part of his operations near the same small village he was born in.
Varun was born in Paadam, a small village near Kollam. Most of the 800 families were poor landless labourers working in the nearby forest. He still remembers studying under the light of a kerosene lamp as the village wasn’t connected to the grid until he was 10 years old.
His mother ran a grocery shop out of their home. A strong-willed, ambitious woman, she insisted that her children attend the English medium primary school in the next town.
Money was hard to come by. The grocery store was not doing well. Their indebtedness rose to the point that everything in their house was taken away, and they had to sleep on the floor.
“The school fee was Rs 25 a month but my parents couldn’t pay the fees for six or seven months. I was thrown out of the class many times. I had to go through this humiliating experience many, many times in school.” he remembers.
Later, he was sent to a boarding school and life changed dramatically for Varun.