Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas carols… and a boy who stole my heart




The story about my Bangalore visit will not be complete if I do not mention the high point – my visit to the home of Jayanthi and Prakash and how their wonderful son Rohan made a deep impression on me. My hosts Suma and Hari mentioned about an evening at the Prakash’s, but I did not expect it to be quite a fairytale one as it turned out to be. It appeared that Rohan was waiting for our arrival since early evening. He loves singing and hosting programmes, and his father and he had been rehearsing the past few days to put together a Christmas carol-singing programme. Blessed with a mind far more mature than his 12 years, Rohan is one of those rare children who speaks few words, knows what he wants and does things with minimum fuss.

Rohan had a programme lined up for us that evening. On his orders, we trooped into his dimly lit study. He was brilliant on the piano, moving his fingers deftly across the keys without even looking at them (he has been learning how to play the piano from the time he was five, and he has kind words for his teachers Roshni Mukadam and Priya Fernandez). Keeping pace with him and making his own mark was Prakash. Together father and son enthralled the audience of four with carols such as ‘Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer’, ‘O Holy Night!’ and ‘Joy to the World’. It was almost like Christmas Day; the only things missing were the Christmas tree and the plum cakes. But it didn’t matter. Rohan charmed us all with his pluck and enthusiasm.

A Class 7 student in Clarence High School, Rohan passed with distinction the Royal School of Music Grade 2 Examination last month. In 2005, he had passed with distinction the Trinity School of Music Grade 1 Examination. The same year, he came first in the United Nations Information Test, and second in the National Science Talent Search Examination.

Rohan says his favourite subjects are mathematics and science, especially chemistry and biology. Interested in math ever since he was in kindergarten (his father taught him how to multiply and divide), that interest received a boost when he read a series of books called Murderous Maths by Kjartan Poskitt, books that showed him how math could be fun and easy to learn. Supplementing all this is Mrs. George, his math teacher. According to Rohan, “She is very funny and makes math a lot of fun. She thinks of really good one-liners in an instant and does things funnily too.”

A class topper throughout, Rohan likes science because it has helped him understand how so many things happen. He likes Mrs. Joseph, his science teacher. Teachers have a great role to play too, don’t they?

What about sport? “I’m not good at running. But I’m a good goalkeeper. I tackle well in basketball. I play tennis (Rohan plays early mornings at the Gymkhana Grounds with his “amazing coach” Shivumar).”

Rohan aspires to become a doctor – a paediatrician or obstetrician-gynaecologist! And when he retires, he wants to be a math teacher! Wow!

What really stole my heart were these sentences he had typed out on a sheet of paper while we were having our drinks and dinner. Here goes: “My inspiration comes from my parents. They are exceptionally wonderful people and I love them a lot. They encourage me to pursue whatever I want unless it is bad and not listen to what everyone else wants me to do. My teachers also inspire me. A famous person who inspires me is Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. In spite of coming from a small place in Tamil Nadu, he rose to become the First Citizen, the President. Another person is Roger Federer. He is a real fighter. He always knows he needs to keep practising to maintain his position as No. 1. If he loses, he always comes back, much better. The perfect person, according to me, is a person who is honest, trustworthy, dedicated to what he does and a good person in general.”

Way to go, Rohan! We’ll be looking out for you in the days ahead!


Pictures (from top): Rohan at the piano; Prakash is as immersed as his son; and Rohan and his family poses before a Mona Lisa picture before the programme.



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