Though it was an ‘eureka’ moment for her parents, when they discovered her special ability, Priyanka says she has been doing the mental math for a very long time. "Calendars are my favourite household item.
It is simple arithmetic progression, yet when K.Priyanka displays her ability to name days, dates or make links between multiple years, you cannot help being surprised. While cerebral palsy may have endowed her with special child status, 11-year-old Priyanka has shown the world why she is really special, with her uncanny precision in pinning a day to any date between 1941 and 2050.
Though it was an ‘eureka’ moment for her parents, when they discovered her special ability, Priyanka says she has been doing the mental math for a very long time. “Calendars are my favourite household item,” she says as if in justification, while her mother, K.Banu, elaborates: “In July 2011, she surprised me when she pointed out (correctly) that an upcoming function in August would fall on a Saturday.”
In the next ten minutes, Banu recalls testing her daughter with over 40 random dates and says she was always right.
Ever since they discovered that Priyanka suffered from cerebral palsy, she has been trained in routine activities and basic education by Rajathi from Tiruchirapali Multipurpose Social Service Society (TMSSS). “It was the teacher who introduced our daughter to calendars, days of the week and leap years among other things,” says N.Kannan, Priyanka’s father.
A regular participant in TMSSS’s annual celebrations, Priyanka was asked to display her talent in front of an audience for the first time in January this year. “Back then, her talent extended to just three years but over the past few months, she has mastered the calendar of more than 100 years,” he says.
Sure enough, Priaynka aces her mother’s rapid fire questions: “Which years after 2007 begin on a Monday?” asks Banu, while Priyanka calmly quotes, “2018, 2024, 2029, 2035…”
While her mother has to refer to multiple printouts of calendar years, she uses no aids whatsoever. Ask her what goes on in her head before she gives out her answers and she says, only half in jest, that God sends her the right answers.
Priyanka’s talent has been recognised by her school, the All Saints Higher Secondary School in Puthur as well as local organisations; she has already been featured in several vernacular newspapers and magazines. “But her biggest dream is to appear on Sun TV’s Aratai Arangam and we are taking her for the first round to be held on July 14 in Tiruchi,” says Banu.
Though immensely proud of her, Kannan and Banu are fully aware of their daughter’s disability. “While I work as a security guard in Chennai, Banu works as a caretaker at Sivananda Balalaya and our combined earnings are hardly enough to pay for the expensive surgeries and physiotherapy sessions she requires,” says Kannan, who hopes Priyanka’s popularity will find her a medical sponsor.
“Though she now goes to a regular school, Priyanka still requires a lot of assistance,” says Banu, “but if her left eye and hand can be cured, she would do far better in her studies.”