Young Achievers

Sreyash Sarkar

Sreyash Sarkar (21), a promising polymath whose interests range across poetry, art, writing, music and engineering, who was in his hometown Kolkata for a fleeting visit, is currently a third-year student of electrical and electronics engineering at Bangalore’s RNS Institute of Technology. Last month (November) Sense of Elsewhere, a Vancouver (Canada)-based magazine acclaimed him ‘poet of the month’ for his contributory compendium Letters from Bangalore. 

The only child of Dr. Samir, professor of applied optics and photonics at the Raja Bazar Science College, Kolkata, and Pushpita Sarkar, professor of political science at the city’s Bangabasi College, Sreyash, who moved to Bangalore in 2012 after completing his higher secondary education from Kolkata’s South Point School, attributes his achievements to family tradition and parental nurturance.

The Canadian award is only one of the many accolades this bright polymath has accumulated over the years. In 2011, his compilation Aspects — a Tagorean Venture, bagged the first prize at an all-India competition organised by Jagabandhu Institution, Kolkata and Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan. The very next year, in an international poetry competition sponsored by the Atlanta (US)-based W.B. Yeats Foundation, his poem titled The Optical Symphony was shortlisted among 40 entries worldwide.

Concurrently while reading for his engineering degree, Sreyash is editor-in-chief of a bilingual (Bengali and English) monthly magazine, art expert for a web journal, and associate editor of a webzine/forum for budding artists. Moreover last year, he was conferred the Gandharva Puraskar for his musical intelligence and rendition of a manj-khamaj thumri at the National Thumri Festival staged in Benaras. 

When Sreyash is not lost in the world of music, poetry, or art, he is intensively preparing for GRE/TOEFL examinations, to qualify for admission into institutions of higher education abroad. “After I complete my BE, I want to enroll for a Masters in power systems at an Ivy League university in the US. My objective is to contribute as much as I can to make this world more livable, enrich myself and those who want to be enriched by my talents,” he says forthrightly.

Way to go bro!

Baishali Mukherjee (Kolkata)

Arjit Kansal

Arjit Kansal (16), a class XI science student of Delhi’s Maharaja Agrasen School, Pitampura, is the first Indian national to win a Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship, staged annually for the past 14 years. In the 2014 championship held in Disneyland, California, from July 27-30, Arjit bested 123 finalists from 41 countries in the Power Point 2010 category, to win the $5,000 (Rs.3 lakh) top prize.

Launched in 2000, the Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship is a platform for students in the 13-22 age group to showcase their mastery over Microsoft Office applications of their choice. This global contest is conducted in two phases — a national championship followed by an international final. This year’s competition attracted 750,000 entries internationally including 20,000 from India.

Under the rules of the MS Specialist World Championship, competitors are required to first clear a certification test. Toppers qualify for the National Compudon Championship — sponsored by Noida-based Cyber Learning Pvt. Ltd — in which judges watch them work, and award them scores based on the speed at which they find and use the appropriate MS tools. At the World Championships, finalists compete to demonstrate their skills in designing Power Point presentations.

“I’m happy my persistence and determination finally paid off. This was my third attempt,” says Arjit, who was awarded a perfect ten for his presentation.

This Power Point champ, whose school has regularly encouraged and groomed students for the competition, has been fascinated by computers ever since the subject was introduced in class VIII. “With the support of my teachers and mentors at Cyber Learning, I spent three hours daily practising and experimenting with animation, transitions and new features focusing my attention on structure and design rather than on content,” he says.

Unsurprisingly, Arjit intends to study engineering after completing his school education. “I plan a career in computer engineering and I believe my expertise in Power Point will be useful for future innovations and research,” he says.    

Wind in your sails!

Autar Nehru (Delhi)