130+ fractures later, this multi-talented 14-year-old journeys on
The first time Sparsh Shah made it to news was in 2016, when he had recreated his idol Eminem's unforgettable rap 'Not Afraid.' Cut to 2018 and Shah is back in media for winning a coveted award that was accorded to ex-president Abdul Kalam, tech pioneer Sam Pitroda, industrialist Ratan Tata and Infosys' NR Narayanamurthy. So what is it that makes him so appealing?
The 14-year-old has already undergone 130+ fractures
When Shah was born in 2004, he suffered about 40 fractures. Fourteen years later, his body has already suffered above 130. Yes, you read that right! This is because he suffers from a genetic-disorder called osteogenesis imperfecta that mainly affects the bones, resulting in them breaking easily. However, his disease couldn't break his steely spirit and he focused on doing something creative.
The Canada-born has already written and composed ten songs
Shah then started learning music. It's been nine years now that he's learning Hindustani classical music at Pandit Jasraj Institute of Music (PJIM). He's also into American vocal music. He calls himself 'Purhythm' and has already written and composed ten songs like "This Love Will Never Fade," "There's Always Tomorrow," "You Are My Heroes," etc. The Canada-born prodigy didn't stop at that.
Sung US anthem at NBA game and elsewhere
He performed at community events, appeared in radio stations and TV shows and also hosted programs. Recently, he sung the US national anthem at an NBA game at Madison Square Garden, and at a baseball game at New York's Citifield. He was asked to perform at a National Hockey League match. In 2015, he was crowned the Young Voice of NYC.
Music isn't his only stop. He has other talents too
His accolades do not stop with music. Shah was made the 'Youth Ambassador' for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and is involved in several awareness programs about pediatric cancer. A member of Watt NXT Robotics, he also participated in the first World Robotics Championship in St. Louis in 2015. His talent spills over to alphabets and numbers as well.
Can you spell Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis? Sparsh can!
He can recite up to 250 digits of Pi (an irrational number, which means that its value cannot be expressed exactly as a simple fraction) without a pause. For him, the 45-letter word "Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis" seemed to be a cakewalk when he was just 6! In 2015, he also won the first prize for his speech about Dr. Ambedkar at the Indian Consulate in NYC.
19 screws, two rods in his back hold him upright
So how does he manage? "I just dis the 'dis' from disabled," says the boy who started playing the keyboard at 3yrs, but couldn't continue since his bones kept breaking. Two years later, he joined PJIM. He has 19 screws and two rods in his back to hold him upright. For studies, homework and other activities, the 9th grader uses voice to text technology.
'I smile at my fractures. Otherwise, they wouldn't respond smilingly'
It was to recognize Shah's triumph over his obstacle that Canada-India Foundation conferred upon him the prestigious Global Indian Award. Speaking at TEDx talks and Google Talks, he had shared, "God closed the door on my ability to walk, but opened another and gifted me with my voice." "I smile at my fractures. If I don't, they won't respond with a smile," he concluded.