Dubai: A seven-year-old Indian expat boy in the UAE amazed weekend visitors at the India Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai by drumming blindfolded.
Varnith Prakash, a Grade 2 student of GEMS Millennium School in Sharjah, became a crowd-puller amidst the Navratri cultural programme performers at the pavilion.
In July, Varnith had earned a page and received the title of Grandmaster in the Asia Book of Records for playing the drums blindfolded continuously for 10 minutes and 27 seconds, said his father Prakash Govindarao. “He set the record for playing the drums blindfolded for the longest duration in the India Book of Records also in the same month,” he told Gulf News.
Varnith used to love challenges from a young age, according to his mother Pooja Prakash.
“Since the tender age of two, he loved taking up challenges. He started drumming at the age of four years. He works hard and he has gone beyond our expectations even at this young age,” she said.
Initially, Varnith said he was interested in keyboard.
But with time, he said, he grew fond of playing drums after watching a video of famous Indian drummer Drums Sivamani.
When he was around five, Varnith came across a video of Lydian Nadhaswaram, a young Indian pianist playing the keyboard blindfolded. This inspired him to play the drums and keyboard blindfolded, he explained.
Varnith knew it is only with practice that he could create wonders. So he mastered the skill of playing the drums blindfolded.
“It took me about a year and half of rigorous practice to do it,” he said.
During regular school days, he practises for about an hour and during weekends and vacations, roughly about two to three hours.
Holding distinction certificates from Trinity College of London for drums and keyboard, Varnith is currently appearing for an exam at the Trinity College of London (Grade 3 for Drums and Keyboard).
Varnith is thankful to his mentors Santiago Madrazo (drums) and Jerry De Castro (keyboard) for their support. Apart from his parents, his younger brother Dhanvith Prakash and grandmother Thara Devi are also Varnith’s biggest fans.
“Dhanvith is only two. But he has started following in his brother’s footsteps and playing drums,” said Prakash.
Varnith has performed at various school level and other events organised by community groups like Indian Association Sharjah and International Promoters Association in Dubai.
He had also performed at an Indian Independence Day event held at Burj Khalifa on August 15.
However, Varnith said he was thrilled with the opportunity to perform at Expo 2020 Dubai.
“The India Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai has been the biggest platform for me so far. I was excited to perform at this great venue as people from across the world are there,” said Varnith, who presented a 10-minute show on Friday night by performing three songs.
Hailing from the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Varnith’s parents said he can also speak five languages—English, Tamil, Marathi, French and basic Arabic.
“He holds DELF A1 certificate from Alliance Française for French. He is very good at Math and can solve grade five level problems like decimal additions, multiplication and division. He gives answers within a few seconds. He is currently at Level 8 of Abcaus,” said Prakash.
Though he is multi-talented, the young instrumental musician wants to pursue his passion in music. His aspiration is to play alongside Indian maestro A.R. Rahman. He also wishes to pursue a career in Artificial Intelligence.