At 3 feet, 5 inches, he might be short by average standards, but Vikas Kumar, 19, has big dreams.And some of his dreams are already coming true.
Belonging to a poor family from Bihar, Vikas cleared the All India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE) this year. He is a BTech computer science, first year, student at Dr BR Ambedkar National Institute of Technology (NIT).
"Till this happened, I was a bit uncertain about my future. It's indeed a dream come true," he says.
Vikas claims he will be the first student from Dalsinghsarai in Samastipur district to become an engineer. No small feat for a small-town boy!
"My short stature has never bothered me. I never thought I was inferior to anyone. I always wanted to be a software engineer. And later, I intend to join politics."
Vikas inherited his short height from his parents. His father is 4-feet tall, while his mother stands at 5 feet, 2 inches.
"It is in my genes, though my sisters are taller than my mother," says Vikas.
His short height might not have posed a problem, but his inability to walk longer distances has.
"I cannot walk more than 200-meters at a stretch. Doctors suggested to operate my legs but there was a risk involved. So, I did not go for surgery. My parents feared that I wouldn't be able to manage all by myself. But my friends and roommates are very cooperative."
Pradeep, his roommate at the institute, shared, "We take good care of him. He is the first one to get food at the mess, as everybody allows him to break the queue. We are planning to get a bicycle for him."
To escape the cycle of poverty that his family is trapped in, Vikas wants to join a big multi-national company.
"My father works as an accountant in a small utensil shop. I have three elder sisters and a younger brother. It was tough for my family to pay my fees. My father spent all his savings (Rs 50,000) on my first semester fees. He had saved it for my sister's marriage."
Vikas says he still gets his share of curious stares from people, but he's got used to it. "It's a rough and tough world for short men. But I take this in a positive manner. I am different from others, alright. That makes me special."