Meet the “Famous Five” — Arjun Bansal, Vijay Kumar, Shruti Chandrsekhar, Arvind Thiagarajan and Sundeep Venkataraman. These five teenagers have just got jobs in the Research & Development wing of the India branch of Lucent Technologies — the famous American company.

The teenagers were handed offers of employment in the company recently. They can join the company as soon as they complete their graduation.

The Famous Five
The Famous Five [Illustration by Sudheer Nath]
But first, they had to score the highest marks in a test done to discover the “best and brightest minds” in the cities of Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad. They beat 655 other candidates.

Arjun, Vijay and Shruti are from Bangalore, while Arvind and Sundeep hail from Chennai.

“I think it is a lovely opportunity to get a job even before you have finished your education,” said Shruti to The Asian Age newspaper.

“There is nothing better than this,” agreed Vijay.

Besides the job offers, the five students will receive Rs. 25,000 ($581.4) each. Their schools will get Rs. 50,000 ($1,162.8) per winner for equipment and tools.

The honour did not come to them easily though. All five had to take a difficult two-hour examination in physics, chemistry, mathematics and general knowledge. Only then could they lay claim to becoming the first batch of teenage scholars, hired by Bell Labs.

Bell Labs is the name of the R&D division of Lucent.

Lucent’s motive in giving them employment is simple. It wants all five to start working on making a breakthrough in physics, chemistry and mathematics after graduation. Rather than worry about which jobs or careers to choose.

But Lucent is not forcing the five teenagers to sign any agreement. If they change their minds after graduating, the company would understand their problem.

The tests must have proved to Lucent that Indian kids are a brainy lot. It plans to hold similar tests and hire youngsters from other cities in India, from next year onwards.