A prodigy’s parable
Hima Bindu Duggirala: A prodigy’s parable, Yamini, a Class VIII student of Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, Chennai, started writing when she was in her fifth grade.
Yamini, a Class VIII student of Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, Chennai, started writing when she was in her fifth grade. She said that when there was nothing remarkable left to do, she took her laptop and started typing. It was then that she conceived the idea of writing.
“During my fifth standard summer vacation, I had finished doing everything in my reach. And since I had to entertain myself, I took my laptop and started typing. I aimed to write a story of a girl who had a really memorable childhood, which one can look back upon and smile. This was when I began writing my first ever book,” she recalled.
Speaking about her book ‘Mishti’, Yamini says that it’s very close to her heart as the former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam had himself reviewed it.
“I was super excited and couldn't believe my ears when I first heard the news. We had an email address to which we sent the soft copy of the book and Dr Kalam actually replied! He said that he read the entire book and he liked it, especially the ‘Cricket Match’ chapter. He then congratulated me for writing the book,” she exclaimed.
The book is the journey of a daring, tomboyish girl named Mishti and features her family, friends, the delights of her town, her dangerous misadventures, her experiences and her escapades. The scene is set in the 1980s in Bhilai, a small town in Chhattisgarh.
“The story about Mishti and her memorable early days conveying the message of a childhood well spent is definitely something that can be looked upon, remembered and cherished forever,” she explains.
Informing what all had gone into the making of her book; Yamini says that the name came from a cartoon character Mishti Patel from a popular television show titled ‘Phineas and Ferb’. She continued that the background was inspired from her stay in Bhilai.
“The setting of the book is my reminiscence of how Bhilai looked when I used to go there. It’s my birthplace and a large and memorable part of my childhood was spent there,” said Yamini.
Throwing light on how similar she and Mishti are, Yamini says that many of the attributes possessed by the protagonist are quite similar to her own and many of the things that Mishti accomplishes when she grows up are her dreams for the future.
“I’m also a tomboy like Mishti and the only child of my parents. I too love playing cricket and like Mishti, I’ve always wanted to have a pet dog,” she chuckles. Yamini’s passion for writing comes from her love for English and books. Her writing style is inspired from renowned author Ruskin Bond. She says that writing transports her to another world altogether and that she loves to transform her ideas into words. Writing serves as a stress buster for Yamini, especially during exams.
“I feel that I’m the creator and a spectator. All the writers till date have left us with many wonderful works of art and literature and I feel it’s our duty to do the same for our descendants. Otherwise the magic of reading and writing will be lost in the mists of time,” says the ambitious author.
Her next landmark victory was when her name was nominated for a TEDxEMWS speech themed ‘Limitless Paradigms.’ Apparently, she was the youngest speaker to speak on a global pedestal.
“TEDx was an absolutely amazing experience where I got to communicate with many people who've done such creative things! In fact, I enjoyed listening to them speak, more than speaking myself.”
As part of her speech she said, “Either we destroy the ordinary or do just the little to make the ordinary extraordinary,” which raised many hands in applause.
Following ‘Mishti’, the young girl has also authored ‘Best of Granny’s Stories’ - a short story collection that features two children who visit their grandmother for the weekend. The book is a collection of 20 interesting stories and illustrations and would be released in both English and Hindi in September.
Just like everybody who had made it big, Yamini also couldn’t escape from the rejection phase. “There were a whole lot of rejections as most of the big publishing houses said that they only publish work ‘for’ children and not ‘by’ children. I don’t blame them for it. But today, that’s what ‘sells’,” says a proud author.
Apart from being a writer, Yamini is also trained in Carnatic music. She loves to play basketball and is a great fan of arts. In fact she had done illustrations for Mishti herself. She writes poems and scripts for plays. Acting has been one of her favourite pastimes.
“I would love to pursue writing as a hobby. But I've always been interested in biology. I'd like to be a doctor or a DNA specialist,” says the soon-to-be-teen Yamini.
Next in line for Yamini is ‘Mulberry Meadows’, a story of four horses living in a stable with their owner and caretakers. The book would be e-published soon. Yamini is now working on an unnamed book for 11-13 year olds. The story is about an Indian family that relocated to the UK and features the challenges faced by kids over there.
Yamini wants to try her hand at writing fantasy someday and would also not hesitate to author books in Hindi, once she masters the language.