Snigdha Nandipati with her mother Madhavi and brother Sujan on a trip to India.
‘She is pleasant, easygoing and a very smart girl’ To family friend Ravi Meda, Snigdha Nandipati is the female blend of Leonardo da Vinci and St Francis.
in from India to
Sujan tracked her
like the paparazzi,
after taking the
camera away from
his father. He shot
picture of her
is very patient, he said.
“Snigdha tries to engage them, so they should
feel cozy when she’s around with them. She does
basically whatever the kids like — tic tac toe.”
In short, Snigdha is not the quintessential
swollen-headed brainiac, in fact, she is a very
pleasant person to have around, a view also taken
by family friend Laxmi Gollapudi.
Laxmi worked at the Sharp Memorial Hospital,
where she knew the people in the volunteers’ office
that took on Snigdha.
“She was pleasant, easygoing — a very smart girl.
She is nice And very mellow. She respects her elders and listens to her parents.”
In short, the model child.
Snigdha calls her Ammamma (grandma in Telugu) and her
husband Thata (grandfather), perhaps because the families
met in a movie theater when Krishnarao’s parents, whose ages
are comparable with the Gollapudis, had come over from
“She’ll go to medical school, no doubt about it. She works
hard like my sons did,” Laxmi said, adding that Snigdha particularly looked up to one of them, Raghu, now an interventional
Ravi said he knew Snigdha was into medicine.
“She has been saying that during her preparation she got to
know a lot of medical terms — she explored those terms. She
likes the human brain and all that sort of thing,” he said.
He is full of praise for his friend, too.
“Krishnarao saw the talent and explored (it). He is very
methodical, very goal-oriented. He found a pathway for her to
explore things. And the kid also (responded correctly. It was)
two things coming together.” ;
COURTES Y: THE NANDIPATIS
‘When you’re an
underdog, you have to
prepare fully – just like
Oh wow, this is too daunting a task.’ That was what Ravi
Meda thought when he first heard Snigdha Nandipati was
having a go at the national spelling bee.
He knew Snigdha, the daughter of his friend and then colleague Krishnarao, was impressive, perhaps even formidable:
She is proficient with the piano, plays the violin, goes for geography, math and science bees, and is very good at Spanish. She
also volunteers at the Sharp Memorial Hospital, helping in the
While Ravi did not mind describing Snigdha as something of
a teenaged, female blend of Leonardo da Vinci and St Francis,
his mind still balked at the idea of her literally taking on millions of other competitors.
Nandipati told him how she was preparing for the contest —
and what he was doing to help.
“Since childhood, she has been goal-oriented. She is very
methodical and she also knows her area,” Ravi said, describing
why he thought Snigdha had a chance.
“I’m very impressed with her dedication. Basically, she has
got a goal. At that early age it’s tough to do that,” he said.
While good at her work, Snigdha was not supercilious with
those who lacked her knowledge, Ravi said.
With his young children — Akhil, 6 and Advit, 2 — Snigdha
She finds the situation in India too competi-
— P Rajendran
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