TEDx turned out to be a great platform for me and taught me so many things, which included: how to be totally confident, how to make great friends and how to create talk.
After the event, I felt so great because so many people came to me and said, ‘Are you Ishita Katyal?’ ‘Good job’. ‘Amazing’. ‘I want to be like you too.’ Oh, I too distinctly remember the days when I used to go to meet the kids with my parents in the underprivileged community. Those days were definitely a turning point for me, seeing the thoughts and dreams of the children there really inspired me. I even asked my friends what their dreams were. So I connected these two inspirations and thought of writing a small book called Simran’s Diary. The story behind my book is very simple. I thought we all have asked in school: what you want to be when you grow up? Children say ‘I want to be a doctor, an artist or an author’. I always wanted to be an author.
But I asked myself: I am an empowered kid; why do I have to wait till I throw up to realize my dream, why not now as a child? I thought of writing my own fiction book based on happy, sad, and funny experiences in a child’s life. I wrote Simran’s Diary during my summer vacations. I still remember how I used to think of ideas even in my sleep and used to write them down anywhere anytime. These ideas led to a story with sweet characters. The main characters of my book are: Simran, Tom, Alice, Mom and Dad. Basically the theme of my book is around what goes to a child’s mind. Simran is totally me. Simran can be any girl. So I’ve not called her Ishita. Saying Ishita I think will be specifying me. I don’t have any current siblings but my younger cousin brother is Tom, because he is very naughty and my younger cousin sister cannot be Alice because Alice is very mean in the book.
While writing the book I never thought of publishing it. But how knew it would happen someday. Initially when we approached publishers they said they publish books written for kids, not written by kids. I thought who did the kid understand better what’s good for kids? Then we decided to self-publish the book on Amazon Kindle. When Partridge Publishers saw my book online, they called us and now my book is in print.
It was a feeling of immense recognition, seeing my book come in print. Most people appreciated my efforts. However a few said, ‘It was too small and thin’. I thought people were expecting a moon from an eight year old! And that’s not fair.
I am passionate to do various things altogether in my life. Trust me, it’s not an easy ride, juggling with different trades altogether. It’s hard to manage everything like TEDx, writing and my daily routine with studies in school. When I finished writing for the day, I used to realize I’d forgotten to do my homework. Earlier it used to be very difficult but now I’ve got a hang of this. I wake up early in the morning, do my homework and revise.
Curiosity is such a magical thing. There should be nothing that stops a child from experimenting what they want to achieve. I would like to thank my parents to be brave enough to allow me to reach the top of the Maslow’s pyramid. Don’t stop imagining. However imagination doesn’t mean to think and imagine, it means to try, think, dream, imagine and experiment from a zero to 100.
We children are the future, support us. Any age you’ve got to follow your dream, we children do not have to wait till our future time to realize our dream and do what we want. There are so many things we can do now as a child and it seems well fitting here to compare us children with fishes like goldfish in a cup. They can grow according to the space they have. The larger the aquarium larger possibilities of growth; the smaller the aquarium, smaller possibilities of growth.
Standing here today, I urge all of you that next time you talk to a child, instead of asking them what they want to do in the future, ask them what they want to do now. Ask them their vision for a better world. Ask them what they’re doing to change this world. Ask them the real life problems they’re solving. This would allow you all to empower our new generation to go faster than any generation ever has.
Thank you so much.