Akanksha Alumni and IIT, Guwahati Inductee
A Marathi literature enthusiast and avid crime-novel reader, our Akanksha student Prasad Thombare is all geared to begin his academic journey at IIT, Guwahati. A driven student, Prasad believes that it is education that has made him the confident person he is today. Read on to learn more about our talented alumni’s journey, interests and aspirations!
1. Tell us more about yourself.
I’m Prasad Thombare and I have completed my BSc. Chemistry from Jai Hind College, Churchgate, Mumbai. I belong to a five-member family and am currently residing in Prem Nagar, Worli. It was actually my father who first came to Mumbai from the village and settled down here. He is a driver by occupation and my mother is a home-maker. I have two siblings - one brother and a sister who are both working. Currently, I am the only member who is still studying.
2. When did your journey with Akanksha begin and what role did Akanksha play in your life?
My time at Akanksha started when I was just five years old, about the same time I started grade 1 at a municipal school. I was at the KGM Centre with Rupa didi, right from the beginning to the end of my time at Akanksha.
Akanksha has definitely helped me build confidence. I was in a municipal-run Marathi medium school till grade 7 and it was only in grade 8 that I moved to an English-medium school. The classes at Akanksha gave me the ability to hold conversations fluently in English. For instance, we were asked to give speeches and presentations for class and that helped me immensely. I have friends from school who still struggle to have full-fledged conversations and I believe that my education really bolstered my public-speaking skills. So yes, I can attribute my ease and fluency in English to my time spent with Akanksha.
3. Do you have any powerful memories from school that have shaped you?
There was an event in my school, when I became Gandhiji for a 4-5 second scene where all I had to do was walk-in and walk-out. However, my teacher made me practice that scene for one entire month, and I learnt that despite being old, Gandhi always walked upright and firmly, never slowly. So, whatever be the job, be it for like 5 seconds or 5 minutes, you should work hard and practice for it sincerely.
4. Who/what drove you to pursue a masters degree in Chemistry at IIT and how did you go about preparing for it?
I actually had friends who were preparing for JEE and NEET, and other such competitive engineering/medicine exams after grade 12. However, I always knew that I didn’t want to pursue engineering or medicine, and would rather like to go into the field of pure science. I had never really thought of pursuing Chemistry specifically, it was only when I started my first year of junior college that I discovered I wished to pursue the subject further. I have always found Chemistry easy and enjoyable and it has a greater scope in comparison to Physics and Mathematics.
Honestly, I had never intended or thought about going to IIT, in fact I wasn’t even aware that it was an option post graduation. It was only when I was in my third year of undergraduation that my mentor and teacher, Aditya sir told me about this path and at the time IIT seemed interesting so I decided to go for it. I took a gap-year after graduation and enrolled in coaching classes in Thane run by Aditya sir, who is an alumnus of IIT-Mumbai himself. My friends who were preparing for IIT alongside me and Aditya sir himself were solid pillars of support and motivation through the entire prepping process.
Right up until grade 7, I was actively involved with Indian classical music and singing. At school, I participated in several inter-school singing competitions and won prizes. However, after nearly three years of training (grade 4, 5 & 7), I no longer sing competitively but do so for fun in my free time. Someday I hope to continue practising and gain my singing voice again.
A big area of interest is drama and theatre. I was introduced to the stage in grade 11 when I joined the Marathi Vangmay Mandals (MVM), a traditional language group dedicated to performing arts. This was the actually the time I was introduced to acting and I got my first, proper role complete with dialogues and costumes on stage when we performed at Jai Hind. In fact, my love for reading comes from theatre as our group was also involved in script-writing and a friend had suggested books as a good place to start brain-stroming for ideas.
Another activity that I enjoyed was being part of the college astronomy club. My fascination with all-things space began at Akanksha when we went on frequent visits to Nehru Planetarium. These field visits and exposure trips were a great opportunity for me to learn about new things and interact with different subjects. In some ways, you can say that it was these trips that sparked my interest in astronomy and the reason behind pursuing it in college.
When I actually sat down and got thinking about a future profession, one of my seniors gave me some important advice. He actually told me not to think about scope right now, but rather to focus on gaining in-depth knowledge of my subject. Since I am not physically present on campus due to Covid-19, I am not interacting with students and professors on a very personal level. After a conversation with my senior, I firmly believe that once I get there, I will be exposed to more branches and new things that the field has to offer which would help me cement such decisions.
I would say consistency is very important. Along the way, one should try their best to gain some extra knowledge. For instance, in my second year, I was part of the astronomy club and that was so fascinating and offered different perspectives. Extra knowledge in some way boosts your confidence, regardless of its relation to your field. Personally, such artsy interests actually help me in academics by relieving stress since I have to engage with such a complex and demanding subject like Chemistry.
Whatever I am is all because of education. How can one achieve greatness without education? There is nothing without education. Whatever you want to do, whether academics or non-academics, education will help you every step of the way.