Mumbai, 23rd January 2019: The Hiranandani Foundation School – International (HFSI) in Mumbai played host to the TEDxYouth@HFSI event. And though one speaker in the midst of a fantastic line-up may have stood a little shorter than her peers, her inspiring speech more than made up the difference. Advika Nair, a 9-year-old student at HFIS, became the youngest person to ever speak at a TEDx forum in India. Advika’s talk revolved around ‘Possibilities’, and the potential to change the world inherent in every child, inspired by her own experiences and observations of the world at large.
Over the course of her speech, Advika homed in on three key issues faced by a child on a daily basis. The first was parental discouragement in the form of ‘no’, something every child is well-versed with. As she wisely pointed out, “I know you’re trying to protect us, but you’re also instilling fear in us. How will we conquer the world if we have a fear of failure?” The next question cut at the heart of every parent in the audience, as her earnest cry of, “Why do you want us to stop dreaming?” met with pin-drop silence. After all, there’s no harm in being a dreamer. For her last point, she highlighted the advantages of a non-competitive educational system, where the worth of an individual isn’t determined by their success in an arbitrary set of fields. After all, as Advika notes, “Only in a non-competitive system can we be happy doing what we truly love.” With wit and verve, Advika tackled these weighty issues with a maturity beyond her years, holding her audience spellbound. To cap off the session, she lightened the mood by helping every adult in the audience reconnect with their inner child through a quick shimmy and shake, before serenading the audience with a rendition of La La Land’s ‘The Fools Who Dream’. She received a standing ovation for her speech at the TEDx talk.
HFSI Principal Kalyani Patnaik describes Advika as an ace student and an enthusiastic participant in extracurricular activities, spoke highly of her following the event, “We have always been proud of Advika and her accomplishments, and her speech today only reinforced our opinion of her. She has remarkable insight for a child her age, and a true passion for the topic. Public speaking is a vital tool in today’s world, and there’s no better platform to shine than at a TEDx event. ”
With dreams of growing up to be a professional orator, writer, and film director one day, Advika certainly isn’t short on ambition. Advika was one of the very few children to participate in a musical play, based on the beloved Disney animated film-Aristocats in the USA. In addition, the 9-year-old spoke at the Prahlad Kakar School of Branding and Entrepreneurship-organised ITCH Summit, alongside luminaries such as Piyush Pandey, Devdutt Patnaik, Falguni Nayyar, Priya Dutt, and Dino Morea, amongst others. We’re sure we’ll be seeing more of her very soon.