Two Indian teenagers, Aditi S Nair and Raisa Gulati, have been awarded the senior and junior runners-up prizes at the oldest essay writing competition in the world, the Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2021, for their essays on the coronavirus pandemic.
Gulati and Nair have recently returned from London, where they were presented with the prizes by the Duchess of Cornwall. The essay competition saw over 25,000 entries, with the winning entry in the senior category by Kayla Bosire from Kenya, and the top prize in the junior category being taken by Ethan Charles Mufuma from Uganda.
The prize for the competition also included a week-long trip to London for all prize winners including Gulati and Nair, along with a writing workshop, as well as tours of the Parliament, Westminster Abbey and Cambridge University.
Nair wrote her essay Prithavi Mata, on the positive impact of COVID-19 on nature. According to the 15-year-old, her essay talks about how nature became radiant due to the onset of the pandemic, but starting looking haggard as the coronavirus receded and human beings started interacting again. Nair added the essay featured nature ending humanity thirty years later.
The New Delhi resident added that while she did not get a chance to speak with the Duchess of Cornwall, she did get an opportunity to interact with the Speaker of the House of Commons in London. It was Nair’s first trip to London, and the young girl described the place as different from India, “but in a nice way”. The 15-year-old is presently studying in the Sanskrit School in Chanakyapuri.
Gulati, who was the runner-up in the junior category, wrote her essay Autobiography of Corona, wrote about the attempt of the deadly virus to destroy human beings was thwarted by lockdowns and vaccines.
The 14-year-old from Amritsar is also an accomplished equestrian and chess player. A student of the Mayo College Girls’ School in Ajmer, Gulati is also adept playing the drums and tabla, as well as sketching.