Humans of Harker: Shasvat Jawahar listens to the legends of rap


Melissa Kwan

“I’d like to be open-minded and informed enough to be able to forge my own opinions and place in the world,” Shasvat Jawahar (12) said.

by Prameela Kottapalli, Winged Post Asst. Features Editor

When Shasvat Jawahar (12) puts on his headphones and launches his Spotify playlist, he does more than just listen to the music. He feels the artist’s emotions, invests himself in their stories and connects with them on a deeper level.

“Artists talk about their lives and stuff,” Shasvat said. “It’s really personal.”

Shasvat’s favorite genre of music is hip-hop, and like many modern-day music lovers, Shasvat listens to contemporary artists such as Chance the Rapper. Yet he’s also a fan of less current rappers, particularly those that defined the “Golden Age” of hip-hop in the early 1990’s like The Notorious B.I.G., Nas and the Wu-Tang Clan.

What draws Shasvat most to hip-hop is that the artists within the genre seldom conform to societal norms and rebel against the status quo through their bold and expressive music, lyrics and personas.

“They’re all different, there’s something that differentiates them,” Shasvat said. “A lot of the rappers don’t fit into society normally at all, but they find another way to express themselves.”

Shasvat’s admiration for those who stand out in unexpected ways extends beyond music. An avid basketball enthusiast, Shasvat has been following the Boston Celtics from a young age and is a fan of The Green’s most acclaimed point guards, particularly NBA All-Star Rajon Rondo and the five-foot-nine Isaiah Thomas, whose breakout season–including his career-high of 52 points in one game–took place in 2016.

“When Isaiah Thomas scored 52 points… I thought that was really cool because, I mean, he’s five-nine, and he was picked last in the 2011 draft… he’s gotten really good, despite his height, despite everything, and I think a big part of that is his motive, his confidence,” Shasvat said. “Watching him score 52 points… it was awesome. He’s fearless. Even if there is a 7 foot player guarding him, even if he’s over a foot shorter, he’ll still shoot that three– and he’ll make it.”

Aside from Shasvat’s interests in music and professional basketball, he participates in the Advanced Research course and, through his expertise in computer programming, developed a program to detect brain tumors in MRI images.

“I spend a decent amount of time working on projects on my own time,” Shasvat said. “In terms of my work initiative, usually when I’m working on projects, it’s usually fooling around, but when I gain momentum, I follow it.”

While developing his love for music and his passion for bioinformatics over the past few years, Shasvat has also established close bonds with his many of his classmates.

“He’s a really good friend, he’s a caring person, he’s there for me whenever,” Vedaad Shakib (12) said.

Shasvat’s variety of interests have provided him with a broader perspective of the world around him, and he hopes to carry that with him beyond his high school career.

“I’d like to be open-minded and informed enough to be able to forge my own opinions and place in the world,” Shasvat said.