Krishna Janakiram Mahadevan

Krishna Mahadevan instantly became one of my best friends in law school. Since we were two out of the four Indian students in our law school, we stuck together. However, our similar races only play a small part in our friendship. Both of us came to law school to become the best versions of ourselves to help others. 

“It takes a lifetime to be a good person, but only a second to be a bad person,” Krishna’s father told him one day. Krishna’s childhood centered around the idea of being a good person.

“Helping others is something I have been doing for much of my life, trying to embody [my father’s] motto,” Krishna told me one day. Having known Krishna for more than three years now, I can confidently say that he does embody the motto.

Krishna’s background.

Krishna was born and raised in Cincinnati. Attempting to broaden his horizons outside Cincinnati, he attended Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and Universidad de Carlos III in Madrid, Spain, obtaining majors in Political Science and Economics, with minors in Business Administration, Finance, Public Policy, and Spanish. A true Cincinnatian, Krishna could not stay away from his hometown, returning for law school.

Krishna was involved with many organizations. In high school, he participated in many volunteer projects including tutoring other students. In college, he continued working with the Boy Scouts of America and volunteered with a non-profit in Cleveland, El Barrio, designed to help mostly native Spanish speakers learn English. While in law school at Cincinnati, Krishna returned to Cleveland for a summer to intern with Catholic Charities Migration and Refugee Services. His experience with them sparked a passion for immigration law, especially in the realm of asylum law.

“Learning the stories of those fleeing terrible circumstances in their home countries gave me the determination and fortitude to help people.” Krishna said, “the gratitude that individuals feel for helping them avoid danger is not the reason to do this job, but it certainly is a perk of the job.”

Small Acts of Kindness.

Although Krishna is proud of his many achievements, he believes the small acts of kindness shaped his life more. For example, in high school, Krishna saw a fellow student sitting by himself. No one talked to that student nor acknowledged the student’s presence. After a little awhile, Krishna decided to talk to him. It didn’t take long for Krishna to realize that he and this student had a lot in common. Soon, they became best friends and hung out regularly. One day the student asked Krishna, “do you remember the day we first talked?”

“Vaguely,” Krishna replied honestly. The student told Krishna that he vividly remembered that day because the student considered suicide and had come close a few times. However, his friendship with Krishna convinced him that there were people who cared about him, and he could do more with his life.

“To this day, whenever I struggle,” Krishna told me, “I think of [that day] to remind myself that we are all fighting our own battles, but even a little help can be incredibly rewarding.”

Why We Help Others.

Okay, readers, I am going to let Krishna take over from here. I cannot say it any better than my good friend:

Me with Krishna at our Hooding Ceremony

“I truly believe that the desire to see success in each other is innate to all human beings. We want to cheer for each other. We like to see good news. We like to see our fellow person win an award, win a case, realize their dream, etc. I think helping each other is inherent, but sometimes we don’t actually realize we are helping. An encouragement here or a kind word there can help someone more than one may ever know. To this day, one of my proudest accomplishments was not passing the bar exam, graduating law school, or even getting a great job helping people, though I am of course proud of those accomplishments. No, my greatest accomplishments occurred in high school, and I didn’t even realize I helped until much later.”

Krishna currently works as an attorney at a small immigration firm in Blue Ash, Ohio. Every day, he helps individuals through asylum applications, alien relative petitions, and other forms of relief through our broken immigration system.

“I hope to continue doing this kind of work for a long time, but I hope to see immigration reform to help more people,” Krishna told me. And, Krishna, I hope you continue to do this work too.

Published by Nikita Srivastava

A passionate feminist and social justice warrior who occasionally calls herself a goddess. Follow her on Instagram @nikita_srivastava_jd

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