Prasanth Balakrishnan Nair
Prasanth Balakrishnan Nair

Prasanth Balakrishnan Nair: From Nenmara school's Wall of Excellence to the captain of Gaganyaan Mission

Prasanth Balakrishnan Nair’s Palakkad home located in a sleepy village near Nenmara town, is christened ‘Prathibha’ (talent)

Aptly so, as the world and India acknowledge Prasanth’s selection as Gaganyaan Mission Group captain, announced by Prime Minister Modi on Tuesday. Prasanth has made the natives here proud of his achievement and the talent behind it.

After news broke out about his feat, villagers flocked to Prathibha, but Prasanth’s parents, Balakrishnan Nair and Prameela, were in Thiruvananthapuram to take part in the meeting, which named him as the group captain.

Villagers celebrate at the courtyard of Pratibha as local MLA K Babu, panchayat representatives, AK Nagar residents association office bearers, teachers of the Government Lower Primary School and others reached the place.

Prasanth Balakrishnan Nair’s Palakkad home near Nenmara town, named ‘Prathibha’
Prasanth Balakrishnan Nair’s Palakkad home near Nenmara town, named ‘Prathibha’. Photo: Manorama

They are gearing up to organise a grand reception to facilitate Prasanth’s achievement, making them proud of their native place.

Balakrishnan Nair’s Chittilancheri Vilambil family. and members of Prameela’s Thiruvazhiyad Poolangattu family are also sharing the joy of his achievement.

Prasanth attends the festivities in the Manikantaswamy Temple near his father’s ancestral place whenever he is in town.

Prasanth has two brothers – Praveen Nair (UK) and Pradeep Nair (US) – and a sister, Prathibha (Thrissur).

Prashant B Nair speaking at a school event
Prashant B Nair speaking at a school event during his tenure as leader. Photo: Special Arrangement

Spotting the talent

The Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Pallavur, has a wall of excellence that carries the names of toppers in Standard X and Plus Two every year. Prasanth figures in that elite list – in 1991-1992 he was the SSLC topper scoring 428 out of 500 marks. In the 1994 Plus Two batch also he made it to the list as the topper with 455 marks. Prasanth, who was also the school leader during Plus Two, visited the school last year.

After Plus Two, Prasanth did his Engineering course for seven months, but his desire was always to serve the nation by getting into the services after writing the NDA (The National Defence Academy) entrance exam, his schoolmate and the school’s present Instrumentation and Control Engineering department professor G Venugopal says. Prasanth was studying from his uncle’s Railway Colony residence then.

His English teacher in Class IX and Class X, Giribala Menon, says Prasanth was always the class topper. She was also his class teacher in Class XII. Prasanth was in Kuwait with his parents but after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, they came back to Kerala. He joined Chinamaya school in the IXth standard. He continued to be in touch with the school and his teachers, and always made it a point to visit the school to share his achievements.

Prashanth's name is on the board featuring list of toppers of the school
Prashanth's name is on the board featuring list of toppers of the school. He belongs to the Plus Two batch of 1994. Photo: Manorama

Prasanth was also an excellent basketball player. In fact, only Prasanth was good at basketball during his tome in school, which he probably acquired from his Kuwait stint. Yet he managed to even form a basketball team here, his schoolmate and Thiruvilwamala native, Biju Raj, says.

Prasanth also excelled in science subjects and had a passion for debates, says Biju.

A few months ago, Prasanth visited Nelliyampathy along with his old pals, and they even had a get-together in Kochi.

Alathoor Girls High School teacher Mridula Venugopal says Prasanth makes it a point to keep in touch with his old schoolmates.

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