Pune girl Ishita Katyal is not like the most 10-year-olds. She became a published author at eight and is the youngest Indian speaker at the TEDx talks.
In the latest TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) 2016 conference, Ishita Katyal made some of the world’s smartest people take notice of her when she approached them with her simple yet impactful message – give kids a chance.
The conference was attended by some of the world’s most brilliant minds including top management from Google, Tesla, Apple and Uber, not to mention Al Gore and Bill Gates.
Ishita, who had travelled over 13 time zones to be part of the conference, was severely jet lagged and missed her daddy’s presence beside her, but she didn’t let any of that faze her when she took the centre stage.
Ishita addressed the annual conference with confidence and in her singsong voice gave the opening speech of the conference.
Looking smart in her pink-frame spectacles and burgundy velvet gown, Ishita started her speech with a simple message that was to ‘put children first and give them a chance.’ She said:
“Instead of asking children what they want to do when they grow up, you should ask them what they want to be right now. We can do a lot in this moment, in the present. The problem is our world has many forces working against the dreams of children.”
Looking at the packed audience, Ishita then went on to add that adults, chronically underestimate kids and in the process pass on their won fear on to them.
She said that children are born without fear and it is only adults who pass them on to them. Talking about her own dream, she added:
“My dream for the future is that people think 10 times before raising school fees, a hundred times before going to war with another country, a thousand times before wasting food and water, and ten thousand times before letting their child’s childhood go away. I hope you adults can look after the world long enough to give us our chance.”
Ishita’s speech kept making the ‘brainiac’ audience frequently break into applause, even as she addressed topics such has hunger, education and war.
The average age of the audience was in the forties and after her speech many even rushed to get selfies with the youngster as she crossed into the lobby.
Ishita’s mother, Nancy Katyal, was beaming with pride and fondly recalled the time when her daughter wrote her first book “Simran’s Diary” and came into lime light when she organized a TEDx talk at her school Vibgyor High in Balewadi, last year.