Mumbai girl will lead India on the field against Zimbabwe

MUMBAI: "Stand tall, don't lose hope in victory or defeat, don't get nervous. Just take the next step. Don't blame it on destiny, as destiny is a matter of choice and not chance. Do build castles in the air but make a strong base for it." These words of wisdom have given 14-year-old student from Arya Vidya Mandir Santa Cruz Akanksha Maker the opportunity to lead Saurav Ganguly and team onto the field against Zimbabwe on Wednesday.

This comes courtesy the 'Pepsi Badaa Shikari Hunt' organised by Pepsi, Nickelodeon, MTV, Max. The channel claims to have received 12,000 entries so far.

When caught up with her and asked about how she heard of the Pepsi Badaa Shikari Hunt contest she said, " I watch Nickelodeon regularly and on that I heard about this competition. In school there was a competition and we got forms in school, which we had to fill up and submit. When I heard the news that I was chosen I couldn't believe it because I had never won anything like this. I am not a lucky person and was therefore very excited to win something this big .

Talking about her television viewing pattern she said, " I watch a lot of television which usually happens when I am not studying. I spend most of my free time in front of the telly. Usually my viewing lasts for around eight hours a week. Television can sometimes be a social event. I watch with both my friends and family. With friends it is mostly over the weekend when we get together. With family, which in my case is a joint one everyone watches cricket together. It is a family viewing experience. We even pray together to God that the team does well. Our Indian team deserves better than the best. We won in 1983 and this another chance for us.

Akanksha's mother too chipped in saying, "My relatives watch Star Plus and Sony shows like Kkusum and Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki. These shows are anyway too late at night for the kids. Not only do kids not watch soap operas they do not like it if we tune in. They like fun in the form of 'Boogie Woogie' and 'Khuljja Sim Sim'.

Questioned about the appeal of Nick Akanksha says, "My younger sister is a bigger fan of Nickelodeon than me. So we watch it together. It understands what kid needs better that most other channels because it is very entertaining. Earlier I never used to watch it but when I started I got hooked. My favourite shows are Figure it out, Hey Arnold! The former is educative and the second one is entertaining. "

Interestingly while Akanskha plays Tennis she does not really watch it. This also applies to the four Grand Slams. "I do play tennis except that now studies are difficult so it is not easy to find too much time. We have games in school and so there is no need for me to play any other sport. I watch the Tata Open Tennis championship. My parents are very supportive. To practice tennis you need a proper court. It is not like cricket where you can play in any gully

Taking about whether pester power works she said, " Ads that convey the message that if you buy a product you get one free attract children the most. I like ads that are funny. The Pepsi Blue ad as well as Pepsodent where the mother is scolding the child are entertaining."

Asked whether other sports were being neglected due to excess attention to cricket she neatly deflected the question saying, " Cricket is a good game and everyone should be equally interested in it. It attracts a lot of advertising."

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