CHENNAI : India: New Delhi, Nepal: Kathmandu, Mozambique: Maputo…, ” four-year-old Diya T jumps on the sofa at her Gerugambakkam residence as she nonchalantly recites the names and capitals of 195-odd countries by looking at flag flashcards. The child prodigy recently entered the High Range Book of World Records and became the ‘Youngest Girl to recite the names of 200 Countries with Capitals’. “We are blessed to have her, ” smiles Vijayalakshmi, Diya’s mother.
The walls in the hall are plastered with maps of India and the world. “She loves to identify the names of countries, states, and their capitals by looking at the map, and flag flashcards. She can also do it vice-versa. We have tried to keep up with her speed and learn the names...but it’s hard to remember it all, ” laughs P Thirunavukarasu, the toddler’s father.
Diya was a year old when she started recognising alphabets and numbers. “We bought her a set of alphabet books, and it took us by surprise when she was able to identify the alphabets within a few days. We noticed the same pattern with numbers as well,” says Vijaya.Later, when a relative brought home a few flag flash cards, Vijaya taught her the names and capitals of five countries. “It was amazing when she recognised those cards amid a plethora of cards. That’s when we realised that she had the ability to retain information,” she explains.
Thirunavukarasu unlocks his phone and shows us videos of the pint-sized cherubic child enthusiastically reciting names of the countries in under nine minutes. “I have documented and shared videos of all her accomplishment in my YouTube account. She even recited the names of 200 countries and their capitals in front of 2,000-odd people at her school’s annual day function, recently. She doesn’t have stage fear,” he beams.
Pieces of an unfinished world map puzzle lie on the floor and Diya looks at the shape of a piece and identifies the country. “We recently found that she can do this too. It’s quite amazing!” says Vijaya.We turn to Diya, who is now busy trying to grab her father’s phone. She jumps, swirls and tells us that she loves storytelling and singing. “We don’t give our phones to her and don’t turn on the television until it’s necessary. We have tried to keep her away from technology.
Narrating stories, teaching her songs and slokas are how we keep her engaged. She has also received a lot of awards in storytelling competitions,” says the proud father, pointing to a shelf stacked with medals and certificates.The goal is for Diya to enter the Limca Book of Records and the Asia Book of Records. “We have been figuring a way to submit our entry. We would love to see our daughter enter into one of these record books. It’s not a claim to fame, but as parents, we feel that it is our duty to help her attain her potential and be recognised for it,” says Thirunavukarasu.
When a relative brought home a few flag flash cards, Diya’s mother Vijaya taught her the names and capitals of five countries. Diya recited the names of 200 countries and their capitals in front of 2,000-odd people at her school’s annual day function.