“Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!” ― Dr. Seuss in Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
Sometimes, all it takes is an inspiring line like this to steer a child in the right direction and see him/her fly, succeed and shine. Sometimes, all it takes is the right person, the right words, and the right opportunity to enter a child’s life at the right time, and there is no stopping him/her after that. When given these things, a child can actually go places, like these five who have made their country extremely proud.
1. Shubham Jaglan
The 10-year-old golf champ
Shubham won the IMG Academy Junior World Golf Championship for the 9-10 age category in 2015. The 10-year-old hails from Israna village in Panipat district of Haryana. His father works as a milkman and Shubham had to overcome many setbacks to reach this stage in life. Opportunity came knocking for the child in the form of an NRI who built a golfing range in his village, bought the required equipment, and hired a caddie to train kids. Shubham excelled in the game and continued practising even after the range was closed because other kids were not interested. Finally, India’s top golfer, Nonita Lall Qureshi, spotted his potential – she saw that his name was on the leader board of every small tournament for kids. She decided to take him under her wing, and the rest is history.
2. Rohit Sawant
The 18-year-old who received praise from the founder of Zumba himself
Due to improper diagnosis by doctors after he injured himself at the age of 4, Rohit’s mental abilities were severely affected. Today, at the age of 18, he has the brain of an 8-year-old. But thanks to his cousin Rahul Murundkar, who did not want to see his brother’s life wasted away, Rohit got the opportunity to become an excellent dancer. Rahul, a trained dancer himself, started dance classes for Rohit to provide him with a platform where he could shine. Dance has taken Rohit places. His talent was recently recognised and appreciated by Alberto Beto Perez, the founder of Zumba, at the international Zumba Instructor Convention 2015 in Florida.
3. Aravind Chithambaram
India’s next Vishwanathan Anand
Aravind, who is expected to be India’s next Vishwanathan Anand by many, did not have an easy childhood. His mother worked as an LIC agent to run the house, and the young boy had to cross several financial hurdles before winning the Grandmaster title at the age of 15. How did chess enter his life? It was via his grandfather, who wanted to keep him inside the house instead of constantly running out to play cricket. He bought Aravind a chess set and the boy soon became an expert. His coach, Grandmaster RB Ramesh, helped the family move to Chennai where he coached Aravind for free. Aravind was awarded the title of Grandmaster by the World Chess Federation at the age of 15.
4. Pranav Dhanawade
The boy who broke a 117 year old cricket world record
15-year-old Pranav Dhanawade of KC Gandhi School, Mumbai, broke a 117 year old cricket world record by scoring 1009 runs in a match organised by the Mumbai Cricket Association. Pranav’s father, Prashant, is an auto rickshaw driver. He is an inspiration for his son and wants Pranav to become a great cricketer.
5. Lalita Prasida Sripada Srisai
Winner of Community Impact Award at Google Science Fair, California in 2015
Lalita Prasida Sripada Srisai, a 13-year-old student from Odisha, won the Community Impact Award at the prestigious Google Science Fair in California last year. A student of DPS Damanjodi in Koraput district of Odisha, Lalita developed a low cost bio-absorbent based water purifier that makes innovative use of corn cobs in the filtering process. Besides being cheap, this also makes the purifier eco-friendly because the corn cobs would ordinarily be discarded as bio-waste. Lalita’s teachers guided and mentored her while she worked on the project, and helped her enter the competition that won her the award.
These brilliant prodigies from around India are a perfect example of how opportunity can change lives.