BENGALURU: Sir, can I meet you today to discuss my career in the National Defence Academy?” A high school student asked Dr TP Sasikumar, space scientist-turned-student counsellor. Dr Sasikumar agreed to meet him that afternoon. “The boy told me that he bunked school to meet me and gain some insight into his career. I told him that very moment that he is unfit for a job in the Armed Forces as they value integrity above all else. Bunking school does not signify this. I think he realised what I meant.”
Another day, an intermediate student from a corporate college in the city WhatsApped him to find out if he can meet him, to find the best American university for him. “He used to call me every morning and find out where I am. Just to gauge his attitude, I would ask him where he was and would tell him that I was in a place at least 30 km away. He would invariably say that was too far for him and that he could not make it. I told him that if he was planning to move abroad, he had to get used to commutes. If he could not make it in his own city, then going abroad may not be up his alley,” he says.
He has over 1.92K subscribers from across the world for 1,600 YouTube videos. From telling students how to break up their Maths syllabus to be able to score 100 per cent in their Board finals to helping them understand what career works for them, Dr Sasikumar, a resident of Hyderabad, does it all.
Dr Sasi is fluent in Telugu, Kannada, English and Malayalam and the latter makes him a hot pick in counselling events in the Middle East. “I am often invited to speak on radio chat shows in the Middle East. Sometimes I record the show from my home in Hyderabad and sometimes I am invited to the studios there,” says the scientist, who worked in the Department of Space for two decades. He was Director at Academic Staff College under University Grants Commission at the University of Calicut and was Deputy Director at Directorate General of Security, Cabinet Secretariat, New Delhi before taking voluntary retirement in 2009 to mentor the youth.
“I ensure I respond to every message, even if it means I am up the whole night to do that,” says the multitasker, adding, “I found many homemakers came to drop their children for my class. I felt they also need some value addition instead of just being glorified drivers who picked and dropped their kids. So one weekend, we went driving and chanted Lalitha Sahasranamam and understanding its significance. A Vastu, yoga and jyothish expert, Dr Sasikumar is also popular for conducting Skype and Facetime classes on Bhagavad Geeta.
group activities made fun
“Whenever I visit schools, I first ask the students the subject they think is tough. Then we mark the most difficult lessons and most difficult questions. Then with the help of students, we make a plan on how many hours we need to study to tackle this. When I finally tell them they need, say 18 hours, to tackle this, they feel happy. They feel it is very doable. Next, I make the students set the question paper and I swap answer sheets in such a way that one student gets to correct the answers of the other student. This gives students an understanding of how they write,” says Dr Sasikumar.