January 15, 2021

Nancy Katyal on her daughter Ishita Katyal – the youngest from the country to be on TEDx

Nancy Katyal is an image consultant in Pune, India and a very proud mum. She shares with Mums and stories on the journey of her 10 year old daughter Ishita Katyal.

Young Ishita is no ordinary child. Least of all she wants people in general to think of children as little.

She is currently enjoying the attention of being the youngest Indian to talk on a TED platform. The recognition has made the young one to meet stalwarts at the TED event and brought immense accolades and pride moments for the family. Her mum’s social media posts are proudly showcasing the pictures at the TED events. A.R Rahman, the maestro musician tweeted of being happy to meet Ishita Katyal.

We are sharing at the end of the story the link to the TEDx speech by the talented young one.

Mums and stories reached out to Nancy the proud mum to talk on Ishita and the journey into motherhood.

“I wasn’t working when I conceived Ishita till up to when she was 5 years old. This was driven by my choice to spend time during her initial growing up years. I had read somewhere that 90% of the child’s brain is developed by the age of 5, plus those were the initial growing years of my daughter and I did not want to miss on cherishing the moments specially the first word that she uttered or the first step she took. I have fond memories of her first day to school, waiting to pick her up and many such wonderful memories.

I started my work career back again when Ishita turned 5 and a half years old. I started working with a school and explored the domain through job rotations to expand my perspective. Image consulting happened to me 3 years back, when I attended a presentation. I realised this profession can contribute a lot to today’s needs and in May 2013 I started my company called ‘The Perfect You’.

Ishita has been a keen observer from the very beginning. She started writing quite early and used to pen her thoughts down at the end of the day. At 8 years of age, she wrote her book Simran’s diary. Regarding her TEDxjourney – I was part of the TEDxPune team as the Image building partner. Ishita attended one of the events with me and asked me if she could organise her own event. She felt that the recognition that a TEDx Speaker gets would mean a lot to a child. I encouraged her to apply for her own event license. She took the initiative and applied for her license and after two rounds of skype interviews with the TED team member at the US, her application was successfully approved.

She did her event TEDxYouth@Balewadi in February 2015. That is how her journey with TEDx started. The community found her journey quite inspirational and that is how speaking opportunities came in at an early age to give talks at few of the esteemed TEDx events in India. She recently gave a talk at the TED conference in Vancouver.

Ishita loves doing things – like making arts and crafts, decorating her room and making songs to learn her favourite topics. We are blessed to have her. As parents we have just supported her to fulfil her dreams.

We try to give her freedom in whatever she wants to do. Everything she does is because she loves doing it and we like to encourage her in whatever she likes doing.”

When asked if this status and recognition is going to pressurize Ishita, Nancy says, “ I don’t think so. The natural quality of being a child is that they enjoy doing what they like, and they are not aware of the rat race that many people are running into. Children nowadays participate in school activities and projects and display their work to an audience without any pressure. It is only as Adults we get into the pressure game of expectations and what I should do next to compete against others.

Children feel pressured when they participate in something they don’t enjoy. Ishita loves living in the present moment and as parents also we feel she should continue doing what she likes doing, irrespective of worrying for name and fame. Getting recognised from achievements will help children discover their interests and lay the foundation for even more discoveries.

Ishita has a natural style of delivering her talk and that gives her an X factor. She likes meeting new people and learning something new from them. For her, the audience is like her friends with whom she would interact anywhere, anytime. This ability makes her very comfortable and at ease. She did rehearse in front of me a couple of times before she gave her final talk.

The most cherished moment was when the audience gave Ishita a standing ovation after her TED2016 talk was over. Many well known personalities during the break came to her and told her that they are her fans. That was a very emotional moment and at the same time proud moment for me. Those moments will stay with me forever.

After all the love and adulation Ishita is getting, the quality I admire about her is that she is not letting it affect her childhood. She is enjoying her childhood. She loves playing with her friends and I think at present that is very important. We as parents are very glad that she is grounded. We feel that is very important to continue to freely make things she wants to create. I believe people who are grounded and follow their dreams with sincerity go very far in life for sure. As parents we are always in support of Ishita’s dreams.

My mother – Parveen Chaudhary and father Mr. Narinder Chaudhary have always been supportive of what I wanted to do as a child and even now as an adult, they guide me whenever I am stuck somewhere. They have always encouraged me to try new things.

One key learning that is always at the back of my mind which my parents told me was “Do your work with utmost sincerity and always stay grounded”.

My father is a very well renowned advocate in Karnal and I have seen that quality in him too and my mother is an excellent home maker who has nurtured all her kids- my sister Ila and my brother Nikhil and me equally. Of course my husband Vikas has been a strong factor in the journey because I believe that behind every successful women there is a supportive husband.

Mums and stories is glad to feature this story of an inspiring child to her mum and to several others and sharing the link to the speech at TEDx.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlW7uzxurmA

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