Hema Vijay meets four inspiring children

Today, most high school and higher secondary students lead a hectic life dictated by packed schedules of tests, examinations and tuitions. But a few kids have veered from this beaten track, taking a path shaped by their inherent curiosity, inner vision and inspired dreams. Obviously, they march forward with the support of their parents, who have given the kids both the anchor to hold on to their dreams and the wings to fly.

Taking stock

T.P. Kalavathy (Class IX)

This Class IX student of CSI School manages her father’s stock market portfolio, and has made him substantial profits too. But making money from trading is only an accidental offshoot of Kalavathy’s research into business ventures and the reasons for their successes and failures. Her research earned her a letter of appreciation from Nitin Nohria, dean, Harvard Business School. “She has always been curious about economics. We explained what we knew and introduced her to websites such as BSE that lists various aspects of business ventures. We keep her away from tuition classes and examination pressures. We need to give children the space to pursue their interests,” says her mother M.K. Chandra. “I wanted to understand why my dad had lost money on the stock market. So I studied how stocks moved in a one-day, five-day, one-month, and six-month period. That is how I got to track and discover which shares did well in the stock market, and the right time to buy and sell shares,”says Kalavathy.

Count on him

K.E. Srivatsav (Class XII)

Seventeen-year-old Srivatsav is familiar with obscure theorems that even many Math teachers are unaware of. He has attended math camps at IIT-Madras and Cornell University. He started a Logic Club at his school (PSBB) along with two friends to promote the joy of math, and spends countless hours creating math puzzles, problems, and papers. However, he has no intention of taking up an engineering degree. This Class XII student intends to do Math research and become a Math professor, and is particularly fascinated by geometry and number theory. “Understanding concepts and deriving my own solutions gives me a thrill, not scoring marks. Teaching concepts is fun too,” he says. His mother Vidya Ranganathan shares, “His elder brother Raghav who is now doing his PhD in Nuclear Physics and his teachers Sadagoppan Rajesh and Balaji Sampath have been a huge inspiration for Srivatsav. As parents, we believe he will do well in any field he enjoys working in.”

Bird’s eye view

Vikas Madhav (Class X)

Fourteen-year-old Vikas Madhav is just back from the Rann of Kutch, where he got to spot rare birds such as the Eastern imperial eagle and the short-eared owl. This Class X student of Sishya started observing and photographing birds even as a first grader, beginning with a woodpecker he spotted in his school ground. Now, he has solid accomplishments under his sleeve — such as photo-documenting the Indian skimmer in Chennai, exhibiting his bird photographs at shows by WWF, Madras Naturalists Society and the Tree Foundation. He’s an active participant in the city’s bird races and bird counts too. “I make notes on bird sightings in my pad that I keep with me all the time; I refer to books too,” he says. “We give him inputs and guide him, but don’t force him. He makes the effort to understand in-depth about whatever that interests him,” says his mother Prasanna Sriya. Vikas does take coaching for Math and Physics, but has not decided on a career yet.

Beat this

S.S. Kumaran (Class XII)

Last weekend, this Class XII boy set an ‘Asia Book of Records’ for non-stop drumming with a 50-hour marathon session at his school, Leo Matriculation. Kumaran was introduced to drums at the age of six, and used to practise for hours together. Since then, he has performed at numerous shows in India and abroad, and has drummed with legends such as Sivamani. “My mother taught me the secret of time management; my brothers manage my schedule and work for my concerts even harder than I do. My drum masters have helped me a lot too,” says Kumaran, who dreams of working with Apple some day. “He has been able to successfully manage academics and drumming by completing his day-to-day academic work,” says his mother S.S. Jaya.