Malathi Krishnamurthy Holla
Ordinary mortals cannot understand and imagine, let alone understand, what life can be for those who are physically challenged – their trials and tribulations, their hopes and aspirations, and their struggle to cope in a world that is neither designed for nor supportive of their needs and wants.
In the world of POLIOMITICS Arjuna Award and Padmashree award winner, Malathi Krishnamurthy Holla is a remarkable woman. She is a Champion of Champions, a born Athlete, professionally a Bank Manager and a social activist. She is an achiever in all fronts with a limitless capacity to excel in whatever she is engaged in. With over 380 Gold, 24 Silver and 5 Bronze State/National/International medals at Asian/World masters/Open Athletic Championships in different parts of the world, she has an amazing “never say die” and an overwhelming spirit that defies the limits of human endeavor.
Incapacitated by Polio at age of one and confined to the wheelchair after undergoing 32 surgeries, Malathi was driven by courage and a will to achieve and a diehard persevering philosophy that moved her to phenomenal personal and professional success that would have made most achievers proud! A postgraduate in psychology, Manager at the Syndicate Bank, Winner of Padmashree, Arjuna, Ekalavya, KK Birla Foundation Awards, she has had laurels heaped on her for her accomplishments and the many significant milestones of her life.
However, despite her own personal physical trials and challenges, Malathi has a laudable vision of reaching out to her fellow paraplegics and setting an example that life is surmountable no matter what, and that given courage, discipline, perseverance and an indomitable spirit, one can reach the most formidable of goals and that nothing is impossible.
With the moral support of her friends, she has opened a Foundation called MATHRU FOUNDATION where she is providing free shelter, school and medical facilities to the poor and needy physically disabled children boys aged between 5-18. She is concentrating mainly on rural area affected polio victims where their parents cannot afford to send the child to the school or provide medical treatment due to their poor economical background. The Foundation main project and motto is to provide education and required medical assistance like corrective surgeries and provide calipers, crutches, walkers etc.and rehabilitate them to develop positive attitude and instill self confidence in them to live in this beautiful world.
Sidharth or “King” Sidharth as he pompously likes to put it is a 21 years old college drop-out. He started an emagazine during his high-school and working his way through start-up career – now he is part of Instamojo – a Mumbai based startup.
He is known for really lame PJs and never ending philosophical porn he creates on the fly. When he is not designing or worshipping Floyd; he writes at 64notes.com, dives in cinema, reads anything that moves and travels wherever he can.
He’s been featured in a book titled “How to Make More Money Than Your Parents”, been to numerous colleges and schools to address fellow youngsters and has successfully managed to Sharma ji’s, Goyal ji’s & approval of most of the relatives.
Out of all the so-called-achievements his favorite is – I do what I love, almost every second of my life.
Madhuvanthi Arun is an “edutainer” as she likes to be referred to. She has an umbilical connect with arts and education. Madhuvanthi belongs to a family of doyens. She is the granddaughter of the eminent educationist, Dr. Mrs. Y.G.Parthasarathy and Late Shri.Y.G.Parthasarathy, a pioneer of social themes in Tamil theatre and the former Principal of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII). She is the daughter of Tamil cinema and theatre personality Mr.Y.Gee.Mahendra and niece of the ‘Superstar’, Mr. Rajnikanth.
Madhuvanthi is the Managing Trustee of Calibre Educational Foundation, co founded with her husband, Mr. V Arun Kumar, to impart quality education employing state-of-the-art and dynamic system of activity oriented teaching and participative learning. Under the auspices of Calibre Educational Foundation, she has started the Mrs. YGP Pre-School and Nursery and the Calibre Academy where she puts into practice all that she has absorbed from her extensive travel.
Madhuvanthi is an acclaimed Bharathanatyam dancer who has a blend of skills in dance, theatre and visual communication. She is the student of the eminent danseuse Padma Bhushan Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam. Madhuvanthi has performed solo in India and all over the world including U.S.A., Canada, U.K., France and Malaysia before she started touring the world with her group. She has been hailed as an artist bubbling with enthusiasm which she has happily blended with her choreographic skills in her various productions. The most recent one being Tamizh which is an attempt to explore the organic and multidimensional nature of culture by setting up an artistic equivalent in the form of free exchange between ancient, traditional and contemporary media. As a consummate actress, Madhuvanthi has acted in several theatrical productions, the latest being her father’s production, Nadagam. She is currently directing her own play Shakthi based on the classic movie Wait until Dark. Besides dance and theatre, she is equally passionate about singing and has been a part of the Y Gee Melody Makers band.
Madhuvanthi holds a Bachelors degree in Visual Communication and a Masters degree in Education. She is also the cultural consultant of Bharat Kalachar. A multifaceted, dynamic entrepreneur, she is one of the few women members of the Chennai Chapter of YEO, an organization which brings together all the young entrepreneurs. She was also awarded the Ritz Achievement Award given to young women achievers in the year 2008.
Steven Samuel Devassy
The music world has been regularly embedded with prodigies. the latest addition to this cherished league of musicians is STEVEN SAMUEL, aged 7, who is creating waves and magic with his unbelievable playing on the drums.
The king of Percussion Sivamani recognized his rigorous practice and natural talent. He encouraged him and was kind enough to take him along for various concerts. Steven was lucky to play along side him in the inaugural ceremony of the International Children’s Festival at Hyderabad in front of a distinguished audience, which was telecasted live.
Watch Steven Samuel perform on stage and you might think the little drum kit is playing itself. Look closely and you find a little drummer, at times standing and playing, as he can’t reach all the drum pads otherwise. All of four and a half years old, Steven’s latest feat has been to give a solo drum concert before a 20,000 strong crowd at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai, with none other than the legend himself – Sivamani. In fact Sivamani is so fond of his protégé that he invites him to perform on many of his concerts. They now live opposite each other in Chennai, much to Steven’s excitement.
He has played for COGNIZANT-FEST 2012 Inaugural Function at Chennai. He also did a guest performance in Zee Tamil SA RE GA MA PA Challenge 2013 grand finale.
For Steven, music obviously runs in the family, for he is the nephew of keyboard maestro Stephen Devassy. Young Steven started experimenting on the drums when he was just two, and no one still knows how he gets the beats right, least of all his dad, Samuel Devassy, a sound engineer and Stephen’s elder brother. Steven’s skill was spotted early his mother Beena Sam. “Whatever he listens to, he imitates, and does it perfectly. Steven began by drumming on vessels and other toys, when he was just two years old” says Beena. Noticing his talent, his father got him a junior drum kit on which Steven displayed exceptional talent. His parents say that he is quite extraordinary in that he prefers to watch videos of Sivamani or Stephen performing to getting himself into trouble like usual four-year-olds. “When he is not watching cartoons, he practices. A psychologist has approached us now, who wants to study him and understand how he does it,” says Samuel.
The imitation happens to such an extent that what Steven plays has an Indian flavor to it, similar to Sivamani’s. Steven has been accompanying the choir in the church for quite a while and has started giving solo concerts at his school, Chinmaya Vidyalaya.
Steven’s urge to practice and his dedication to perfect rhythm patterns is attracting the awe of all rhythm players. A busy schedule awaits this young drumming sensation.
At twenty-two, turning down job offers from some of the world’s largest corporations needs confidence. Devesh Kumar is fast being recognized for that. Recently graduated from BIT Mesra, he has turned down lucrative offers from Amazon, Microsoft and a fast-growing technology start-up Mu Sigma, to instead start his own venture.
He is the co-founder and developer at WhiteShark – one of the 11 companies to be incubated at Microsoft Accelerator (1st Batch). Earlier at the age of 19, he started ViDei, which worked in the field of technical education for 3 successful years.
Devesh has also won Microsoft Imagine Cup (India) – World’s Biggest Technology competition (400,000 students 100+ countries) with his innovative ideas to fight Dyslexia, which he intends to give away to the world for free. He is also the winner of NASSCOM Social Innovation Honors and one of the finalist of UNICEF Awards.
He has also been an active volunteer for National Aids Control Organization for 6 years and AID India, Patna for 3 years. This has really helped him connect with the issues India faces and he hopes to address them with the help of technology, one day.
In his free time he has created 4 short movies – Koshish (on Dowry), Bas Ek Sawaal (on Child Exploitation), Seven (on Suicides) and Koshish 2 (on AIDS).
A flaming proof of art’s universality, Agnii plays for street children and world leaders alike, believing in art for a cause. Saravana Dhanpal, an MSW graduate, started Agnii in 2000 when he was 16. The son of a flower vendor, his life changed when he was first introduced to a theatre programme. He met Fr. Melwyn Pinto who then introduced him to the principal of St Joseph’s Commerce College, Fr. Daniel Fernandez. Seeing a spark in him, he gave Sarvana a scholar- ship at the college.
Agnii was started in 2000 as an entertainment group performing fire-dances and drum circles using African instruments out of his passion for the arts. Collaborating with NGOs, Agnii now teaches underprivileged youth, child laborers, street kids and school dropouts – music, theatre, dance and sculpting. They have played in 14 countries and have made attempts at the Guinness Book of Records for the largest number of simultaneous fire-breathers.
Saravana and his group can certainly walk the talk. With the money from their performances, they helped build the Born Free School for underprivileged children. In Jai Bhuvaneshwari Nagar, they coordinated a rainwater-harvesting project in a government school. In Chhattisgarh, Agnii conducted a music workshop for tribal children in collaboration with UNICEF.
Agnii’s international collaborations include a historic 2,869 km cycle journey between Bangalore and Lahore, working with Swedish youth cultural exchange programs, representing India at the global march against child labor in Italy, participation in the UK Indian festival and attending the first global Article 9 conference in Tokyo. The group has also performed before Karnataka’s State Parliament on World Peace Day and during the Indo-Korea National Day celebrations in Chennai.
Asked about his experiences during Agnii’s travels across the country, Sarvana feels one does not need money to live a happy life in India. “India is very rich and nurturing. During our cycle rally to Pakistan, various people had common sentiments on the journey and were very supportive. They gave us whatever we needed, be it food, water or shelter.”
Going forward, Agnii plans to start a community Centre for children and a community arts Centre dedicated to theatre, film, sculpting etc. In Karnataka.
Anyone can join Agnii, and volunteer to take the movement further. “Agnii is open for everybody. Art keeps our culture alive and we want to bring it to the youth. We are rich in culture, and must learn to keep and share it.”
He is a futurist, strategist and known for his passion for Business .He is a game for novel Ideas and innovation. At times and in a place where job and job security topped his college mates’ priorities, he was one guy who dreamt more and worked the most to make it a reality. As his friends lead the run-of-the-mill college life, he raised the bars and opened up to discover his entrepreneurial streaks.
Asked for his attitude he simply quips “truly entrepreneurial, I believe in delivering capitalistic solutions for the betterment of the world and its people”. His innate passion to guide students out of his experiences made him to toy with the idea of delivering career counselling through an initiative’-'Sparkle’ . He co-founded Achieve-A Life skills institute to render holistic education to engineering students which reaped fruitful results and helped many students shape their careers in the locale. His love for philanthropy keeps him associated with the community and developing programs. Young calibre is one initiative he experimented on during his college days.
His passions revolve around his adrenaline filled research on Business models, Blue Ocean strategy, value chains and Brand building. He is currently working to build his dream enterprise “The Rocks Group” which aims to unify youth support services under a single umbrella ranging from education services to music to entertainment to lifestyle products.
Vijay Karunakaran, is the founder & CEO of InGage Technologies, a digital customer engagement company specializing in emerging mobile technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) designed to communicate and engage with today’s new digital consumer in a very cool and innovative way.
Vijay is a true global citizen having lived, worked, and traveled around the world throughout his life. In the past 20 years of his professional experience, he formed and led teams across multiple countries including US, India, Germany, Israel, Singapore, Malaysia, China and Costa Rica. These global experiences have greatly influenced him professionally and culturally. To Vijay, leadership is more than just a position. It is a lifetime experience – a process he consistently been through since his primary school days.
Before founding InGage, he has held senior executive positions at various Fortune 500 companies like Intel and AMD in the US. During his 12+ years at Intel as Director, he led and nurtured varied business & engineering functions that included Smartphones & Tablet business development, Atom mobile processor design & validation.
Based on his 20+ years of global experience, Vijay has phenomenal expertise across industry verticals such as Mobile, Internet and Software, Semiconductor, Telecom, and Consumer Electronics.
He holds an M.S. In Electrical Engineering from the Tennessee Tech and an M.B.A in Entrepreneurship and Marketing from Duke University.
On a lighter side, he also Co-founded two restaurants in India while still in college; managed it for 3 years and engineered a successful exit by selling the restaurants before pursuing higher education in the US. He is an active sports person having captained his college football team, and regularly plays tennis with friends as a stress breaker. Vijay currently lives in Chennai with his wife, 2 kids and mother.