Dhruv, my name means “eternal” in Sanskrit. In Indian mythology, it is the name given to the North Star or the Polaris -the star that explorers look to in the dark skies, the one that guides them back to safe terrains. I hope I stay up to my folks’ expectations for they picked such a profound name for a tiny me who saw the world for the first time some 17 years ago. I lived most of my life in India before my family moved to Shanghai, China and then later to Singapore. Having lived in three countries, studying in various schools and making numerous friends from different nationalities, I think it’s safe to assume that I am friendly and flexible.
Math and science interest me more than languages do. I like playing the violin and even painfully took to the trumpet for a year when the school did not have a strings program.
Most of all I love taking pictures in the wild. Fancy and neat exteriors don’t excite me much but when I am in the jungle, my camera comes to life. I was seven when I started taking pictures. Maybe it was beginner’s luck that got me great shots but they helped keeping me motivated to shoot more. And so I went every year in search of the Elusive Tiger and the Majestic Lion. I also got birds, bulls and elephants along the way. Some calendars got printed with my pictures and it was great when I was picked as the youngest photographer to exhibit my works at the “Call of the Tiger” photo exhibition at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts [IGNCA], New Delhi where works of 32 prominent wildlife photographers were displayed.
It was also thrilling to be picked as the first Teenage Brand Ambassador for Wildlife Savers Society and Earth Matters Foundation.
If I am not spending my school breaks inside wildlife parks, I am attending summer courses in the US. I did so last two summers when I was at Brown University pursuing how to convert ideas into words and recently was at UCLA “Imagining the Impossible, Redefining the Possible” at the California NanoSystems Institute [CNSI].
I have travelled a fair bit but there are many countries I am yet to explore. It’s a big world, you know. Among my trips, the most meaningful are the ones to Vietnam where I helped a low income family in Mai Chao village build a toilet and when I trekked in Ladakh assisting doctors at the eye care camp for the underprivileged locals.
I published my first book when I was 15 years old called the “Parks of Singapore” and currently working on my second one on based on the Asiatic Lion.
I am currently a junior in high school and the next two years are filled with hope and anticipation that my life continues to be filled with excitement, enthusiasm, learning and giving – all ingredients that bring a smile on my face and hopefully yours too!