Youngest TEDx speaker and published author, Yamini Prashanth, shares with us her inspiring journey, her love for Ruskin Bond and striking a balance.
Yamini Prashanth is 12 years old and has an enviable portfolio of adventures. An author at 10, Yamini started her journey early, dabbling in everything creative — from being an Odissi dancer to being the youngest TEDx speaker this year.
A student of Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, Mylapore, Chennai, Yamini’s first book, Mishti was written when she was ten. This was a turning point as she donned the role of an illustrator as well. Mishti is an endearing tale about a boy and a girl, their escapades, triumphs and more. “My publisher asked me to try line drawing, and I went ahead and did that,” says Yamini. “They approved of it and I ended up illustrating the whole book. My second book Best of Granny’s Stories was about children visiting their Grandma and listening to her stories. Mishti, however is a book close to my heart because Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam reviewed it.” Reeling in from excitement at that point, Yamini explains how unbelievable it was when she first heard the news. “It never sunk in, really. We had an email id to which we sent the book and he actually replied!” says a visibly excited Yamini. Her third book Mulberry Meadows is being turned into an e-book, and her fourth (yet to be titled) is in the pipeline. Her favourite books include the Harry Potter series, Percy Jackson, Enid Blyton and Shakespeare (who she feels is the best in the world!)
Being one of the 150 students in Std VII who scored 99 percentile in English in the Above Level Asset test, she was inducted into the Duke Talent Identification programme at Sonipat, attending a three-week summer studies programme. “Students from all over India come in for this programme where we are allowed to choose from 12 different courses,” says Yamini. “I chose DNA; Unlocking the Genetic Code. I love genetic engineering and that’s what I want to do when I grow up.”
Quiz her about her TEDx talk in Mumbai a few weeks ago and she says the experience was one-of-a-kind. “My talk ‘Limitless Paradigm’ got a lot of attention. But I must say I enjoyed meeting people more than talking.” In her talk, Yamini says ‘Either we destroy the ordinary or do just the little to make the ordinary extraordinary’, garnering attention and applause.
Yamini’s favourite author is Ruskin Bond, drawing most of her inspiration from his books and style of writing. “I met him when he came to Chennai last year and was too awestruck to actually speak much! He is one of those authors who make simple things extraordinary.” So how does a 12-year-old actually strike a balance between extra-curricular activities and school? “Honestly, I don’t know how I do it. I am not organised so I somehow make time in my schedule for things that are important. I am also an Odissi dancer so I make time for that as well. It works out quite well in the end.”