By Kusumanjalee Thilakarathna
Abinavan Subaruban is a 13-year-old student from Lyceum International School, Nugegoda, who dreams of becoming a physicist. He adores Stephen Hawking's work and loves reading books authored by Hawking. Abinavan is a talented public speaker and regularly posts on his two YouTube channels: Mirror Talk channel and Cognition. He also loves music and mastering playing the guitar.
Tell us more about yourself, Abinavan
I am Abinavan and I am 13 years old. I am an eighth grader at Lyceum International School, Nugegoda. My father's name is Subaruban, and he works as a foreman. My mother's name is Niruja, and she is a housewife. My sister's name is Anika and she is in grade four, in the same school as mine. I have two YouTube channels, and reading is my hobby. I can play two instruments and I know four languages. I am a public speaker and a graphic designer. My future goal is to become a physicist.
Can you tell us why your future dream is to become a physicist?
Since I was young I always dreamed of being a scientist, but when I had to take the decision about which stream I would like to excel in, I chose physics. It was a hard decision, but I chose it because it matched my interests and my very peculiar questions. I love math, and Dr. Stephen Hawking’s books inspired me to become a physicist, so physics seemed to be the right path for me and I hope it works out well.
What is the best book you have read?
I have read many books and I loved all the books I have read, and got many benefits from it, but I like the book Black Holes and Baby Universes by Dr. Stephen Hawking.
Can you tell us why you like the book so much?
I like this book a lot because it is the first helping step for my ambition of being a physicist. Reading a book is like having a conversation with the author. Just like the content of the book matches my thoughts and has the answers to most of my questions that I always had. It has the autobiography of Dr. Stephen and some things I never knew, so I consider the book so valuable.
When did you learn to play the guitar and the piano?
I started learning the guitar from sir Nalaka Sanjeeva – a famous Sri Lankan guitarist – when I was five years old, but I couldn’t continue learning. Early this year I started my practices again. I started learning the piano three months ago from my cousin Mayuri Kugathas, who is 12 years old and lives in Australia. Even though she is younger than me, she taught me professionally and now I can play any song on the piano.
You told us that you can speak four languages. Can you tell us why you enjoy learning new languages?
I know Tamil very well because it’s my mother tongue. I know English and Sinhala since I study in a mixed school where they encourage people to get together and interact. Due to the interactions and my friends, I am good at those two languages. I started learning French in school since I had chosen French as my optional subject, and my teachers helped me a lot in my journey. Knowing a language helps you to learn more about culture and expands your knowledge. There is no reason why I love learning languages, I just love it.
Can you tell us more about your teaching projects? How did you come up with the idea?
In the first place, I never had the idea of teaching other students, and I never knew I could teach, but my school, Lyceum International, introduced a programme called “study buddy”, where there is a coach and a student, to help each other. I was selected as a coach to teach five subjects, and when I started teaching I actually identified that I could teach, and I gradually loved it. Now I have started teaching French to some students. And now I am willing to teach anyone from around Sri Lanka for a very small fee, and with the money I get I would help some students in need in the future. And if anyone is willing to learn French, please contact me. I would be willing to teach you.
You have bagged 30 medals in total. What is your favourite among them?
I love every single medal I earned because there is always a very special memory behind each of it; let it be for speaking, sports, or singing. But the one I like the most is the one which I earned for my English “best speaker contest” last year at school. I had never even moved into the finals of this contest since I was in grade one, but last year I went into the finals and won a silver medal, so that is precious to me.
What inspired you to try public speaking?
Since I was small my mother always showed me public speaking videos, but I was never interested. But one day I watched one video which was a game changer, and inspired me to try public speaking. That was the 2014 world public speaking winning speech given by Dananjaya Hettiarachchi, a Sri Lankan speaker who won the world public speaking contest in 2014. The other reason is because of my school, Lyceum, which allocated a separate subject for effective speaking. I thank my speech teachers who helped me and corrected me throughout my journey. Next, my parents, who identified my talents, made me participate in many speech competitions, so that is the reason.
Tell us more about your YouTube channels. How can someone become a follower?
I have two YouTube channels in which I do book reviews, important talks about everything, travel vlogs, and mainly public speaking. That is the Mirror Talk channel. In the other channel, Cognition, I teach subjects in a very understandable and fun way. I am growing and earning subscribers from each of the videos I upload. So you can follow me by searching Mirror Talk channel or Cognition channel and then you can find me on YouTube. My request for you is to subscribe to my channels. It would be really helpful for me to grow.
Finally, can you share a few tips with our audience that they can use to keep themselves motivated?
See, when it comes to this part I always have a point to talk about. First of all, you should know that life is very short and it is extremely important that we enjoy every single moment of it. Because in the modern world, time runs so fast that we don’t have time to enjoy life. There are no secrets to enjoying life, you just have to live in the moment. Read well, learn to sing, or learn instruments, these will help reboot yourself and will help you to stay motivated. So always remember life is short; enjoy every single moment of it.