CHENNAI: A white board with diagrams depicting eclipses, the earth’s orbit and names of several scientific terms are some of the items you can see when you enter the house of a record holder. Is he a science genius or a mathematician? Well no, he’s just a 5-year-old boy who is studying in UKG!
Aatish Jawahar, a student of SBOA junior college, Anna Nagar, recently created a record of recollecting 40 scientific names in 59 seconds to enter the India Book of Records. Unaware of his achievement, Aatish who was playing with his miniature helicopter looked at us and gave a huge grin.
In a tete-a-tete with this child prodigy, we decipher his interest in learning new subjects every day. “In the first attempt, I recalled 38 terms. I wasn’t satisfied and in the second attempt, I said 40 scientific terms in one minute,” he smiles as he continues playing with his toy.
Aatish started reading when he was 1 year and 8 months. Reading about 100 words without pictures before his second birthday, he stunned his mother Kavitha Lakshmi, an advocate. “He started reading, recognising and grasping at a very early age. His interest in learning made me enthusiastic and I started teaching new things to him every day,” she shares.
Before turning two and joining school, he was thorough with alphabets, colours, shapes, animal names, phoenetics for English words and more. “I love animals and bacteria…they interest me a lot,” says Aatish as he runs around the house like any other child.
Questioning his mother about everything he sees around, Aatish is a keen observer and sometimes his questions amaze everyone around, says Kavitha. “He liked animals a lot and was at a point obsessed with them. He used to get animal toys and tell their names perfectly.”
When he took ill, the doctor mentioned how bacteria make a person fall sick…and that triggered the interest in him about bacteria. Today, Aatish knows over 40 bacterial names that are associated with a specific diseases. Giving us a quick demo, he gives rapid answers to a questionnaire prepared by Kavitha. “Ask me more questions!” he exclaims.
When he was 3, he had already learnt names of insects and their classification, planets, national symbols, countries and their capitals (50 countries), information about the human bones, inventions and discoveries, wonders of the world, geography, process of photosynthesis, fundamental rights and also a few sections on Indian Penal Code.
So, what’s his favourite subject? “Inventions and science! I ask my mom about who invented what whenever I see a new object. If she doesn’t know the answer, she googles it and teaches me with videos available on the internet,” he explains.
Aatish also excels in theatre and sports. “I don’t want him to be stressed. Now he likes learning, so I teach him. If his interests change I will support him,” adds Kavitha. What does he aim to become? Pat comes the reply: “An engineer!” he exclaims. Why? “So that I can drive a train,” he says passionately and laughs.
We laugh with him but also hope the young genius fulfills his dreams!