NAME: Divyaman Sahoo
CAMPUS: La Martiniere for Boys, Class XII.
CLAIM TO FAME: He is an equestrian champ, a globe-trotting debater, pianist and violinist, stage actor and playwright — and all by age 17! No wonder Divyaman Sahoo won the Best All Rounder Award at The Telegraph School Awards 2012 as well as the Principal’s Award for Best All-Rounder in his school.
He’s been a consistent winner in dressage and confined riding at the Calcutta Horse Show held every January at The Tollygunge Club. In March 2010, he bagged second place for Children’s Show Jumping and Hacks at the first State One-Day Equestrian Championship hosted by Calcutta Police.
A regular at Model United Nation debates, Divyaman was part of a team representing LMB Calcutta at Welham Boys’ School, Dehradun, and The Cathedral and John Connon School, Mumbai. He’s also taken part in the Harvard Model UN in Beijing, where the LMB team won the Best Small Delegation Award and Divyaman the Outstanding Delegate honour, representing Brazil in the mock General Assembly committee.
In music, Divyaman has finished Grade 8 in piano as well as violin, clearing tests administered by the ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, London) “with merit”. On stage, he’s played the male lead for his school’s production of The Phantom of the Opera and even a female character, Cecily Cardew, in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, complete with Victorian dress and blonde wig! He says he volunteered to play Cecily after an LMG student had to back out.
The busybee has also written a play script for a school competition. Titled Ink, it revolves around a Black cotton farmer in Mississippi who is given a job in a newspaper during the time of the emergence of the Ku Klux Klan. The play won him the best director award.
Divyaman is also a House captain, president of the Readers’ Club, vice-president of the Science Club and director of the Creative Arts Club at school. Whew!
STARTING POINT: “I’m really thankful to my parents. My elder brother Devankit and I were encouraged to try out many activities, like riding, when we were small,” smiles the young man. He says he used to suffer from stage fright when he started acting but he’s got over it with patience and perseverance. “If you’ve started something, don’t leave it midway,” are his wise words.
FAMILY MATTERS: Divyaman says his parents were encouraging but strict. He doesn’t own a cellphone, because they didn’t want to spoil him. And he says he’s happy without one. “You can’t have a conversation without people taking their phones out these days! I don’t have devices that distract me,” he explains. These devices, he feels, hinder creativity. He doesn’t have a Facebook account at the moment either. “I deactivated it in 2011.” Facebook is not a bad thing, he clarifies, but he doesn’t want to be on it every day. “I go online when I need to promote a play or invite people.”
NEXT STEP: “I want to study mathematics and music but a liberal education isn’t possible in India. I’ll try to go abroad if I get scholarships. I might also take a shot at medicine,” says the versatile teen.
DREAM ROLE: “I want to play jazz in a bar. I also want to perform on Broadway. After being a part of The Phantom of the Opera, I felt like being on Broadway,” he grins.