Ruchir Fenil Shah isnt partying hard. I went out for a quiet dinner with my parents. Thats all, said the USbased Indian student and recipient of this years Presidential Scholar award on Monday over the phone. Ruchir will accept the prestigious award from president George Bush at a function to be held in White House sometime in June.
Congressman Patrick Kennedy has praised Ruchir for joining the US most distinguished graduating high school seniors. Ill be wearing a suit with a black tie for the function. Very, very proper, said the 17-year-old Kishore Kumar admirer who attends Barrington high school in Barrington, Rhode Island. Chimanlal Shah and his wife Sarla, Ruchirs Mumbaibased grandparents, will attend the investiture ceremony.
Only two guests are allowed and Ruchir insisted that I and my wife should be with him, said Chimanlalbhai, a noted IT entrepreneur.
Ruchir joins the exclusive club of 139 US students who have been honoured for their exceptional academic achievement, artistic excellence, leadership qualities and community service, said a US department of education release. US Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced Ruchirs selection early this month.
Ruchir has brought a dash of fame to the family, the community and the country as well, said entrepreneur Shashi Doshi, a close relative of the Shahs.
For Ruchir, the award came as a big surprise. To tell you the truth, I wasnt sure about it...The list of other candidates was exceptionally impressive, he added. Mahatma Gandhi is the young scholars all-time favourite. A great organiser, a great icon. He could stir people into positive action.
Last year, Ruchirs entrepreneurial acumen got the better of him and he launched his own imprintediting, producing and distributing historical comic books for schools. This has reportedly helped the 29-member selection commission to close in on him.
The Amar Chitra Katha fired Ruchirs imagination. Said Shah Sr, I used to send my grandson all the Katha series. During his visit to Mumbai last year, he had a long meeting with Anant Pai (of Amar Chitra Katha fame). And that set the ball rolling.
Ruchir borrowed $5,000 from Chimanlalbhai for a brief fling at the stock market. The amount doubled. Ruchir returned my money and set aside the remainder for his publication project, added the 75-plus grand-pa.
The Shahs trace their roots to Palitana, a thriving city in Bhavnagar district, which has for long nourished the mercantile skills of Gujaratis. Ruchirs father migrated to the US in the 1980s