A story of love, loss and second chances by Nikita Singh, releasing this Valentine’s Day.
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We often hear tales of inspiring teenagers and kids doing great things. Here are 8 such wonder kids – read on to see what they are doing now.
In 2003, when Bhakti Sharma was only 14, she swam 16 km from Uran port to Gateway of India – this was her first open water (sea) swim. She had also already participated in many State and District level competitions. At 16 (in 2006), she crossed the English Channel in 13 hours 55 minutes and won the Lake Zurich Swim.
With these and so many more accomplishments to her name, it is no surprise that she was the youngest in the world and the first Asian girl to swim in the freezing water of Antarctica for 2.25 km (this was in 2015, at the age of 24).
Now, Bhakti is seeking crowdfunding to prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics where we expect her to shine yet again!
P. V. Sindhu made history in 2016 when she became the first Indian woman to ever win an Olympic silver medal (at the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics). She is currently ranked third in the world (Women’s Singles).
This isn’t astonishing though because P. V. Sindhu had already done so much when she was younger. After winning a bronze medal at 14 years of age in the 2009 Sub-Junior Asian Badminton Championships held in Colombo, she won the silver medal in the singles category at the 2010 Iran Fajr International Badminton Challenge. Her next victory was at the 2012 Asia Youth Under 19 Championship.
Nikita Singh is known for writing novels such If It’s Not Forever (co-authored with Durjoy Datta), Someone Like You (co-authored with Durjoy Datta), and Love@Facebook. Someone Like You debuted at No. 5 at Hindustan Times Bestseller List.
I was shocked to find out that Love@Facebook (published in 2011) was written by her when she was just 19. No wonder she received a Live India Young Achievers Award in 2013. On February 14, 2018, her latest book – Letters to My Ex – was published, adding yet another achievement to add to her already long list.
Having already won both the Indian under-13 girls’ championship and the Asian under-12 girls’ championship (in 2005 and 2006), in the year 2008, Padmini Rout won under-14 girls’ section of both Asian and World Youth Chess Championships. She continued in the same path of success, and as an adult won the Indian women’s championship twice (in 2014 and 2015). Now, the titles of International Master and Woman Grandmaster are held by her.
Priyanshi Somani’s name is on the Guinness Book of World Records on the Mind and Memory Page. And rightly so, for she is a mental calculator. In spite of being the youngest participant of the Mental Calculation World Cup 2010 (when she was only 11 years old) she won the overall title. In the year 2014 (before the competition was held that year), she was the only participant who had had 100 % accuracy in addition, multiplication, and square root in all the Mental Calculation World Cups that had happened till then.
Later, she was chosen as an ambassador for World Math Day. Stanford University also made her a research associate. And now, she is in IIT Bombay. Of course, none of this is surprising for someone who was always so intelligent and diligent!
Sushma Verma completed her graduation when she was just 13. She created a record at the age of 15 by finishing her MSc (Microbiology)! Most of her classmates were at least eight to nine years older than her – she was the youngest in her class – in spite of this, she managed to top the first, second and third semesters.
Having completed the course with a Semester Grade Point Average (SGPA) of 8, she is now pursuing her PhD in Microbiology in the university where she did her Masters – Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University (Central University).
But that is not all, Sushma is also an enthusiastic supporter of the No Sir No Madam movement in India. According to her, the sir/madam terminology sets a tone where a person feels compelled to respect the other person, even when there is no need to. So Sushma is not just an intellectual, she is also a very socially aware person.
When she was about 13 (in 2010), Alka Ajith shot to after becoming a finalist of Airtel Super Singer Junior (Season 2), a Tamil language music competition reality TV show broadcast on Vijay TV. Srinivas (one of the permanent judges of the show) spotted her during the grand finale and helped her debut as playback singer with the song “Chirankengu” in the Malayalam language movie The Train starring Mammootty.
Alka has been flourishing as a playback singer and was selected as best singer by Vijay TV (in 2017).
Unlike the others on this list, Shwetha Mahendran might not have done anything ‘spectacular’ that made her famous when she was a teenager. However, she faced opposition every step of the way both from her community and outsiders, yet she managed to finish school due to her determination and her mother’s support.
This is a huge accomplishment in and of itself. Especially because in her community – the Narikuravar community – girls are often married off at the age of 12.
Shwetha’s mother was her biggest strength. When members of her community objected to her being educated, her mother paid no heed to them – she refused many marriage proposals that came for Shwetha. She also advised Shwetha not to feel bad when other people mocked her for being from her community because it is a marginalized community in Tamil Nadu (they face heavy social stigma because they were once placed under Criminal Tribes Act 1871 by the British, before being classified as a denotified community in 1952).
And finally, Shwetha managed to do it, she became the first engineering graduate from the Narikuravar community. It was a very proud moment for both her and her mother, all their hard work had paid off! Currently, Shwetha and her parents were towards the betterment of their community by trying to bring education to all of its members. They believe that this will help fight the social stigma that their community faces. Hopefully they are victorious in this mission.
Images source: Youtube
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