An immigrant’s never-say-die attitude

Life is a marathon not a sprint
Sixty-four-years-old Ranjit Das finished his 15th New York City Marathon successfully. He completed the race in four-hours and thirty- minutes. After the race he was energetic and showed no signs of tiredness which almost seems to delude the fact that he had run the first marathon of his life at the age of forty-eight.
Ranjit Das, 64, a successful immigrant entrepreneur from New Jersey ran his first race in the fall of 1993. A 15-year-old boy, taught by him, as part of his community service, challenged him to run a marathon.
“I causally mentioned in the class that ‘with hard work one can do anything in life’ the boy responded ‘Can you run a marathon’. I was puzzled by the question and evaded the reply,” recollects Ranjit. Ranjit after a long thought finally decided that he was going to accept the boy’s challenge and will run the New York City Marathon which was due in six-month time.
Five-feet -four inches tall with brown complexion, Ranjit discussed his plan with his wife, Chabi Das who was skeptical of his potential to run a marathon. “He(Ranjit) had never run a marathon in his life. I was doubtful,” says Chabi.
But Ranjit was serious and determined to succeed. He quit his job as a community centre teacher to devote time for his training and he asked one of his friends to replace him so that students do not suffer.
Ranjit decided to train and get ready for the marathon. He spoke to some of his friends who had run marathons. They advised him to join a Gym for weights training and then gradually increase physical stamina by following a 16-weeks training schedule.
In the first week on Tuesday he ran two miles and on Thursday three miles. And on Sunday he ran 22 miles. This regimen continued till the last week before marathon.
In 1992, Ranjit ran his first New York City Marathon in four-hours and thirty-five-minutes. But he continued to improve every successive year. In 1993, he completed in four- hours and twenty- minutes and in 2000, he clocked three-hours and fifty -three minutes, his best timing so far. Ranjit missed New York City Marathon in 1998 as he applied late. To compensate this, he ran for Philadelphia Marathon in the same year.
Ranjit credits his family members who have encouraged him to run. “Family is a great support structure in the face of challenging situation.”

Ranjit came to U.S. from India in 1978 as a qualified electrical engineer. He worked for private companies for 16 years and then he decided to become an entrepreneur.
“It was a difficult decision but my family and friends supported me.” He founded Delphinus, a consultancy company which specializes in nuclear technology. There were few financial setbacks in the beginning but Ranjit had the determination to succeed and family’s support.

Success soon smiled on Ranjit as his company was able to get prestigious contracts. Now the same company founded by him employs over 300 people with branches in Northern Virginia, California and Washington State. U.S. Navy is the prime client of the company as it designs protypes for the Navy’s submarines.

“We are proud of our father as his life proves that with determination anything can be achieved. Age is no barrier,”says Ranjit’s thirty-five- year-old son, Arijit Das. Arijit owns a multi-media company and has recently completed a 30-minute multi-media animation on alcohol-abuse, a project which was funded by federal government

Ranjit sums up his life-experience by giving the analogy of a marathon-runner. “Life is a challenge and to be successful one needs to be disciplined, persistent and have patience. Life is a marathon not a sprint.”


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