IDIA’s Jet Setter


Introducing Myself through a fun game


The first trip to a foreign country is a very memorable event. After all, counting stamps on our passports and listing countries we have visited gives us such a thrill. The excitement is far greater when you have worked hard to earn your trip abroad. Our Scholar, Karthika Annamalai, recently had such an experience, and we are sharing it here with you. But first, for those who don’t know Karthika, here’s her story.


Karthika studied at Shanti Bhavan, a non-profit organization looking after children from economically and socially deprived families. Before Shanti Bhavan took Karthika in, a small convent provided for her food and shelter. But much before that, her mother, a widow, worked in a quarry while Karthika stayed with her uncle, a violent alcoholic. The drunken violence of her uncle often forced her to take refuge in neighbours’ houses. As a reminder of those days, she still keeps near her bed a stone thrown at her, which hit her on her forehead when she was a child.


Karthika triumphed in the face of adversities and turned her life around. Doing exceptionally well at school, she cracked the CLAT in 2012, and made it to NUJS, Kolkata. But she has not stopped there. She has continued her hard work in college and performed well in both curricular and extra-curricular activities. She was recently selected, as a part of the top 50 candidates across the world, to participate in the Budapest Forum, the final stage of the Global Debate and Public Policy Challenge (GDPPC). The week-long event at Budapest took place from 23 – 27 June, 2014, and the organizers covered the full costs of travel and accommodation for all participants.


On her return, she shared her experience with us:
As a semi finalist, I was in Budapest for a total of 8 days along with other contestants from all over the world (USA, Ghana, Sudan, Malaysia, Philippines, Australia, Estonia, Germany and many other places.) All participants were from various disciplines and very accomplished. There were people who had already published books, interned with the UN, or were winners of top-level competitions. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to mingle with such a crowd. As part of the program, I sat through debating and public speaking workshops, had a panel discussion with experts on public policy, and got to go around Budapest, which is a beautiful and peaceful city.


I didn’t make it to the finals by a difference of .2 points but it does not upset me, as I could not have asked for a better experience. I learned a lot and benefited from interacting with so many people from various backgrounds. I put myself down thinking that I could never compete with such accomplished people, but when I got to learn about my scores, I believe that I could have definitely won the competition if I had not doubted myself. But this is just one of the many competitions that I will participate in, and I feel more confident and eager to accomplish more, especially having the support of the IDIA family.


Like most of us, Karthika must have been excited about her first foreign trip, which she worked hard to earn. It is even more satisfying to hear that she now feels able and eager to compete at such competitions. As always, we wish Karthika the very best and hope she accomplishes much more in the days to come. We also hope that Karthika’s story inspires you, just as it continues to inspire us.


  1. Karthika Annamalai | IDIA Law - […] then, Karthika has won many accolades. She was one of the top 50 participants in the Budapest Forum, the final…

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