Humans of Harker: Meghana Karinthi makes the difference behind the scenes

%E2%80%9CPlaying+tuba+in+orchestra+is+not+always+the+most+rewarding+experience.+Most+of+the+time+I+sit+in+the+back+and+do+my+homework+or+sleep+because+I+have+that+much+rest%2C%22+Meghana+Karinthi+%2812%29+said.+%22You%E2%80%99re+definitely+not+the+most+featured+person+in+the+group.+At+the+same+time%2C+when+I+see+the+group+do+well+and+I+know+that+I+took+a+part+in+that%2C+it+gives+me+a+lot+more+satisfaction+than+me+having+a+whole+bunch+of+solos.%E2%80%9D

Heidi Zhang

“Playing tuba in orchestra is not always the most rewarding experience. Most of the time I sit in the back and do my homework or sleep because I have that much rest,” Meghana Karinthi (12) said. “You’re definitely not the most featured person in the group. At the same time, when I see the group do well and I know that I took a part in that, it gives me a lot more satisfaction than me having a whole bunch of solos.”

by Nina Gee, Reporter

Meghana Karinthi (12) is a 5-foot girl playing a 4-foot tuba. She also happens to play one of the most aggressive positions in water polo, a fact that surprises people to no end and frustrates Meghana to no end.

“When people find out that I play an instrument twice my size, or I play the center defense position in water polo, and I’m five feet tall, their first instinct is to laugh or to call it cute, and then after the concerts or after the games people remember me as the small girl with the difficult role, but not really what I actually did,” she said.

There’s a reason, however, she’s stuck with those positions, and it’s a reason that defines her character today.

“I like taking on difficult tasks because it feels really good when you finish them,” Meghana said. “I don’t mind being the person who isn’t at the forefront of things because at the end of a game or at the end of a concert, I feel a sense of gratification from the team success or the group success, and I don’t really need my own credit.”

Meghana often plays the role of the supporter. Though she’s not necessarily at the head of every movement, she realizes that she’s still an important part of a team.

“If you’re just watching, and you don’t understand anything that’s going on, I totally understand why people wouldn’t notice whoever’s in the background, but because I’m actually in it, and when I see people say ‘wow, you had a great concert’ or ‘wow, you had a great season,’ I feel proud, because I know that I’m important,” Meghana said. “It’s like my own little secret, and one that I share with all my teammates.”

A strong proponent of the “whole is greater than the sum of its parts” mentality, Meghana realized her appreciation for team activities when switching from swimming to water polo.

“I’ve always really valued having a team in anything I do,” she said. “I switched to water polo as kind of the same thing, but team sport version, and you would never go back, because you have a group of people who you can rely on and trust. You can accomplish things that you would never accomplish on your own, and you have people who are unconditionally loving and supporting you.”

Her love for her teammates and the activities she enjoys is something she wears on her sleeve, often being cited for her passion and drive to lift others up.

“Meghana has been passionate about two things ever since I’ve known her: water polo, and orchestra,” Meghana’s friend, Sohenee Banerjee said. “Over the years, I’ve watched her grow into a leader that everyone on her team and section-mates looks up to and respects… The way she pours her heart and soul into both activities is truly admirable, and I couldn’t be prouder of how far she has come.”

That’s not to say that she never hopes to be in the spotlight. There are times when Meghana does wish that she were in the forefront, for example when she plays two notes per song in orchestra, but she ultimately feels that it’s her place to support her teammates in any way.

“Playing tuba in orchestra is not always the most rewarding experience. Most of the time I sit in the back and do my homework or sleep because I have that much rest. You’re definitely not the most featured person in the group,” she said. “At the same time, when I see the group do well and I know that I took a part in that, it gives me a lot more satisfaction than me having a whole bunch of solos.”

Meghana often takes the time to consider the little things that go unnoticed, and she wishes for others to do the same.

“I think people should appreciate the inconspicuous more,” she said. “See beyond the surface of things and see what’s important but not as obvious.”

Her efforts rarely go unnoticed, especially to the recipients of her persistent kindness.

“There’s this intrinsic drive in her to help people out, and it’s pretty clear to see in pretty much everything she does,” friend and fellow Future Problem Solvers officer Rahul Bhethanabotla (12) said. “She cares so much about other people and it feels like she really invests herself into other people, and because of that she wants other people to succeed.”

As someone in the background and that pillar of support that so many look to for guidance, Meghana, more than others, sees the value in making the difference from behind the scenes.

“The value is that someone has to do it,” she said. “And I enjoy doing it.”

Additional reporting by Humans of Harker videographer Heidi Zhang.