Category Archives: wonder kids

Leaping high into the air

Ever overheard a group of youngsters in your neighbourhood  huddling and talking about Ollies and wondered what those are?  The Ollie is the most fundamental skateboarding trick where the rider and board leap into the air without the use of the rider’s hands. With June 21 being the Go skateboarding Day enthusiasts from the city as young as eight year olds are gearing up to celebrate the day in all fanfare.

Talking about the same  Aaron Savio Johnson student of class III says “ I took interest in it after watching You Tube videos and pestered my father to get me a skateboard.  I started training professionally three weeks back but the experience is thrilling.” Further adding Savio’s father says “ it’s really difficult to see him falling while training but I try to stay strong and get accustomed to it  but his determination is commendable”. Another student of class III agasthi Chandrashekhar who’s into the sport says “ I have been into roller skating since I was four years old and now with skateboarding I find it really good. I am going to focus on it now.

It’s not just kids who are into skateboarding but many youngsters from the city who are into this sport are coming up with an event at Wall Ride Park. But the way they all fell in love with the sport is almost similar   through You Tube videos.  Sushant Kumar after completing BBA is into fulltime skateboarding.  ‘ I learned the basic from those videos and started pratising three years back”  he says adding “ it  was love at first leap.  Now whenever I get time I take part in competitions   not to win  but to learn tricks from other experts “.  He also adds “people generally think that it’s so much fun  but skateboarding is about maintaining balance while trying out new tricks”.

A member of skateboarding in Hyderabad group Adnan Jafar shares his plan for the day.  “ we will be gathering at the Wall Ride Park to participate in competitions.  It’s very rare that we get a chance to be together and we can’t miss this opportunity to try out new tricks at the new venue only dedicated for skateboarding “ he explains.  Adnan has been skateboarding for the past six years and thinks it is just right time for people to explore more of it.



Spelling whiz Akash Vukoti

Akash Vukoti from Texas was all set to appear for his first spelling bee competition. His hair was neatly combed  clothes were pressed and he had practiced hard  still uttering spellings and brimming with excitement.  For finishing touches he put on his diaper before he takes on people twice his age. He was two and a half years old at the time.

Last year the now seven year old won billions of hearts when he became the youngest person to compete in the Scripps National Spell Bee the most reputed competition of its kind in US.  Akash whose parents shifted to America from Nellore appeared on Steve Harvey’s  hit TV show  Little Big Shots for the third time earlier last week.

About how it all started Akash says “ I was about a year and a half when my uncle was feeding me and he spelt out the word spoon.  The next day he asked me again. Without expecting me to repeat it but I remembered. I also used to be transfixed with the magnetic alphabets on our refrigerator and my parents noticed this talent in me.”

His talent has kept Akash’s parents  DR Krishna and Chandrakala Vukoti on their toes.  “ when he was three Akash and his sister Amrita became the youngest sibling members of MENSA  an organization for people with high IQs.  Since we are homeschooling him we have to constantly update ourselves to be able to teach him “ Dr Krishna adding that one of their concerns was that he would not have interactions with people his age.  However Chandrakala says “ we get together with other kids who are home schooled for outings”.

As for his popularity Akash thanks Steve.  “ Mr Harvey is an amazing person and he introduced me to the world. Now so many people know me.  I feel great.”  So how does he deal with all the fame?   His father Dr Krishna says “ we always remind him that all this attention is temporary so we ask him to be friendly towards everybody”.  Akash can even read and write Hindi and Telugu fluently.

Meanwhile his father adds “ there was this racial undertone to spell bee competitions.  People would dislike Indian origin participants because they felt that they were being forced by their parents to study continuously.  Akash has broken this misconception. He just practices for one hour a day and some more when the competitions are approaching. He can make anything humourous and both Steve and Jimmy Fallon have said that they see themselves in Akash”.


The small wonder

If you have watched the trailer of Srinu Vaitla’s upcoming film Mister then you might have noticed a little Polish boy mouthing Telugu dialogues fluently. But this isn’t the only claim to fame that the seven year old Zbigniew known as Bujji at home has.  He’s also called Zac these days which is short for zbigniew Acharya Chertlur

For a long time now Bujji has been garnering attention on social media with his rendition of Telugu classics like Neeve Na [ which had gone viral with over four lakh views on Facebook ] and Na Hrudayam Lo Nidurinche cheli among many others.  NTR’s famous dialogue Emantivi Emantivi is yet another of his famous renditions.   What’s surprising every one though is the interest of the “ tella abbayi’ in Telugu cinema. It helps that Bujji has got his own little Telugu connect. His father Sharath Chertluru is a Hyderabadi who moved to Europe nearly two decades ago where he eventually met the Polish lady Ula Bujji’s mom.

‘ When he was just two and a half years old I realized that he has an amazing memory power. He was singing a Spanish song he had heard randomly and he didn’t even know the language’ says Sharath  Zac’s father. “ By the age of three and a half Bujji knew names of countries and their capitals could name discoveries and that’s when I first taught him the shlokam  Suklam Baradharam.  He learnt it very quickly.  Since then I continued teaching him Telugu songs. He doesn’t understand the language but easily grasps the lyrics” shares Sharath.

Bujji claims to be a Pawan Kalyan fan because of his good fighting. In fact he recently watched the actor’s latest release katmarayudu and shares that he was blown away by the movie and loved the song  Jivvu Jivvu.  I also like chiranjeevi  Mahesh Babu Salman khan and Varun Tej. When we were working together he specially ordered a pizza for me he says talking of Varun Tej soon after he starts singing Ye Divi Lo Veesinga Parijatamo

Mister might be his debut in a feature film but Bujji has starred in several commercials across Europe. In fact his father Sharath is a photographer himself and has been instrumental in giving the little boy a presence on social media.  “ He can browse what he likes but of course  we monitor him.  He’s also got immense knowledge about Indian mythology only through online search. He bought his own Xbox too with his earnings.  We are so proud.  He loves Facebook.  In fact it was through social media that writer Gopi Mohan spotted him and eventually Mister happened  he explains.

Studying in class III in a school in London  Bujji already knows what he wants to do when he grows up  become an actor. His father tells us that he makes short films too.  “ He has a camcorder which he uses to shoot films on his own.  I am the scapegoat as I have to star in them’  says Sharath with a laugh.  He adds “ he sings well and we’ll soon train his in carnatic music.  Let’ssee where destiny takes him.”

Courtesy    Deccan Chronicle


With the wind in his sails

Fourteen year old Durga Prasad’s story is one that will surprise and inspire you. The boy from Rasoolpura did not let obstacles get to him, rather he sailed through all that life brought to him.

Now after participating in several events including the Monsoon Regatta and Telangana Open .  Durga Prasad who has been learning sailing since 2014 will be representing the country at the Asian Sailing Federation Youth Games to be held in the UAE.

“ I didn’t expect that I would get selected. It’s all because of the support and push that I have been getting from my coach Suheim Sheikh and The Yacht Club of Hyderabad. This is the first time I will be boarding a flight and I am excited” says the Class X student of Udbhav School in the city. Interestingly in 2014 Durga was selected by his school to be part of a group to learn sailing and that’ s how it all began.

Not only did he overcome his fear of water sports as he took to sailing but he did so well that he is currently ranked third in the Under -15 category in India.

“ I used to read articles about sailing. I was afraid of water sports earlier  but when I got the opportunity to sail and noticed the safety measures that are taken.  I was not afraid anymore. Gradually I started liking it and overcame my fear “ he says.

However that was not the only challenge he faced.  “ we are very poor. My father Erra Lingam works at a photocopier unit and my mother Erra Sarala is a sweeper at a bike showroom” says Durga.

But that never stopped him from dreaming big.  He adds “ In spite of that my parents encouraged me to take up this sport.  Now that I am representing India at an international event  my parents are very happy.”

The young boy would practice after school hours from 4 to 5 pm on weekdays and from 9.30 am to 6 pm on weekends.  “ I would come back home and finish my home work since studies are also important. The principal of my school also supports me a lot. She often checks on my practice and how I am doing professionally”.

He continues  “ my coach [ Suheim Sheikh ]  has been my pillar of support. I would not get  a few things right in the beginning but Suheim sir would not mind teaching me again. Even when I would not finish first during competitions he would encourage me by saying that there are many other championships and I shouldn’t get disheartened. “

Durga also adds that his neighbours at Rasoolpura have no clue about his achievements.  “ My neighbours don’t know the value of pursuing sailing. They think that I am wasting my time, as they have no clue about the sport or the opportunities. I want more people in Hyderabad to take up sailing “ he says adding.  “ I feel happy when I am on water and I also get into the competitive mode.  In future I want to bag a gold medal at the World Championship and make my city and country proud. I am confident that I will be able to achieve it “.



Courtesy    Deccan Chronicle


Swimming to success

Hyderabad based Natasha Patnaik is the only girl from South India and the only 14 year old swimmer who will be representing India in the under 17 years category at the World School Games to be held from April 20—25 in Budapest  Hungary.

The swimming star fell in love with the sport when she was just nine years old and since then has competed in Junior and Senior Nationals winning gold silver and bronze medals at the National School Games previously. A IX grade student of International school of Hyderabad  Natasha is being coached by John Siddiqui.

More than anything else the swimming prodigy says that she is ecstatic about representing India on an International platform.  “ At 14 it’s a huge honour for me to be going there and representing my country.  I ‘ve already been given a team India jersey “ says Natasha proudly adding “ the trials were organized by School Games Federation of India last Sunday in Pune and the participants who won the maximum number of points were selected—I got the most.  However I know that there will be intense competition in World School Games and I ‘m prepared to give my best”.

So what does Natasha love about swimming?   “ Even since I took up swimming as a kid the feeling that I get when I ‘m underwater is incomparable to anything else.  That’s when I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life “ she says.

Natasha cites Hungarian swimmer and a three time Olympic champion Katinka Hosszu as her inspiration.  “ I ‘m confident about winning at the World School Games but I think it’s the experience that matters to me more than the results. I want to participate in more Junior and Senior Nationals when I come back in order to learn more. My goal is to win at the 2020 Summer Olympics ‘ says Natasha.

Talking about the challenges she faces she says “ it’s become difficult to manage swimming and studying.  History and biology are my favourite subjects and I  don’t want to give up studying. It all comes down to managing your passions.”

Natasha trains for close to six hours daily which includes swimming and exercising to stay fit. “ My parents have been my biggest support. Without my mother’s encouragement I wouldn’t have been able to achieve so much” says Natasha. Her mother Madhurima adds “ I’m proud of her dedication and determination at this age. She sacrifices a lot of other things to make time to swim and study. ‘

Courtesy     Deccan Chronicle

8 year old wonder girl


With many records to her credit Bhukya has recently made it to the India  Book of Recods, and aims to be an IAS officer one daydc-cov

Eight year old Bhukya chirutej Singh Rathod from Mahboobabad identifies differently from most children her age. While her friends watch cartoons or are busy attending tuitions after school, Bhukya says she is better off playing chess or exploring the world map.  “ She never sits still and needs to be occupied with some activity all the time” complains her mother but you can see her swell with pride as she talks of how her daughter made it to the India Book of Records recently for identifying 127 countries on the world map within just one minute.

This was not her only achievement however. She has set two world records in the Golden Book of World Records and one in Star World Records.  “ It all started just last December when my mother saw that a government teacher had named the 52 countries in asia within a certain time limit and that person got a lot of recognition for it.  Then she thought she could do it too and attempted it.  While she was practicing I found it interesting and I took it up” says Bhukya who is also a State level chess player.  Her father Kiran Singh Rathod informs that she has now been given a date by the Guinness Book of World Records in March and that she aims to identify and name all the 236 countries in two minutes.images-1

A prodigy of sorts Bhukya is already thinking big.  “ I want to become an IAS officer” she says and adds. “ I know I have a lot of time before I can be qualified  to become one.  I’ve learnt that if I am at that position. I can help the poor in their education “. To this her father says that they believe in her since she is brilliant.  “ We noticed that she has a photographic memory. She needs to read them just once and she can remember forever. She is always enthusiastic to learn new things and manages to finish all her homework by herself at school so she has time to do other things at home.  She plays with her friends too of course.  Always a straight A’s kid  she asks us to enroll her in summer camps during the holidays. She likes learning Vedic maths and the abacus and playing chess is one of her favourite pastimes” he says

Dancing his way to glory


Seven year old Gokul Sivakumar was starry eyed as he watched his elder brother put on his roller skates and spin gloriously at international tournaments. He soon asked his parents to enroll him into a class. Now within three years of his experience nine year old Gokul has won 18 medals  at the district  state and National level tournaments the latest being the silver medal at the National Roller Sports Championship that concluded on Monday in Noida.

“ I love artistic roller skating because it has dancing in it. I practice for two hours daily and I ‘m very happy that I won. My brother is my role model. I got selected through district level and was competing with 12 others in the solo dance category at the Nationals. My mother just asked me to go have fun at the tournament. I don’t think she expected that I would return with a medal “ he says.

Mahalakshmi Sivakumar Gokul’s mother agrees “ He is extremely jovial and energetic. My husband and I were glad when he said he wanted to take up skating because I thought this would help him channel his energy into something productive  but I honestly didn’t think he would be so serious about it. “ she says and explains “ no one reached the average of 6 and above to get the gold medal. Gokul and another contestant from Andhra Pradesh tied for silver at around 5.7 points.

Gokul’s father Sivakumar says that his coaches and choreographers are to be credited.  ‘ Gokul is being trained by Arjuna awardee  Anup Kumar Yama and Amar Nag Yama and his choreographer for the winning dance was Nitish. They saw that Gokul took to skating like a fish to water. He also likes karate and boxing. We don’t think that he is missing out on much of his childhood because of the sport as he attends school regularly but most of our family is in Chennai so we miss spending time with them anyway. The only thing is that if we are all meeting to celebrate a festival he could be busy training or travelling but that is a miniscule  inconvenience compared to what he is hoping to do ‘ he says.

Gokul also toured around Delhi after his winning tournament and says that he will be training even harder for the upcoming district level so he gets selected again and clenches the gold medal at the Nationals next time.