Ask Monu what he wants to be when he grows up and pat come the reply, “a doctor, dancer and writer.” Well, he can afford to be all of those and much more, if the manifold talent in this 8-year-old is anything to go by. The little champ has quite a few achievements in his kitty and the black belt in Shotokai Karate is just one of them. Apparently one of the youngest achievers all over the world to earn the title, the Karate master’s is one of the many hats that Agnivesh Jyotiraditya aka Monu likes to don, apart from those of a story-writer, drummer, keyboardist, painter and dancer among others.
“He was given the black belt of Shotokai when he was five and is a second degree black belt holder now,” says his mother Dr Anjana. “We find it hard to tell which among his many hobbies is his real forte because he does each one with panache,” she adds.
“The best thing about learning karate is that you win belts if you are really good”, exclaims Monu. “It’s fun learning the movements and it is almost like learning a dance,” he says, eyes wide with excitement. “I can also remember a Kata (a move) with 65 steps, so it actually improves your memory,” he says sounding very wise.
One must assume there are quite a lot of ideas swimming in those beautiful eyes. For he spins tale after tale and reels them off to his mother while they play or do sums together. When she noticed that they were getting spicier by the day, she started penning them down. When he was old enough to write on his own, he was encouraged to sit down at his writing table and jot down every story that came to his mind. Soon, he had a good collection and they were published under the title, ‘Little Stories by Little Monu’.
He has also compiled his thoughts on a wide range of matters in the book, ‘Little Monu’s Essays For Friends’ with musings on ‘My Hobby’ and ‘Global Warming’. His stories and rhymes have been published in children’s magazines like Magic Pot, Magic Slate etc. “My favourite story is ‘Bolu tries to Fly’, in which Bolu Bear tries many adventures to learn to fly like a bird,” says Monu.
Monu has won several prizes for dance, storytelling, story writing, recitation, music, drums and keyboard, drawing, spelling bee, quiz etc at school, state and national levels. He has also received awards such as Children’s Literary Award from Kerala State Council for Child Welfare, the Dr Hermann Gundert Award 2012 instituted by the Bharatha Samskarika Samithi, the Sara Jordan Prize for Drawing Contest from the U.S. and so on.
He does modeling too as a hobby. Monu does well in academics too and has topped in talent search competitions in school. Monu’s father Krishna Kumar, an engineer by qualification, is a Colonel in the Indian Army. Monu lives in Peroorkada.