When asked to demonstrate the process of cracking an arithmetic problem, eight-year-old Maurya Veer waves his hands in the air, almost like a magician with an invisible wand, and quickly comes up with the right answer.
Recently, his mathematical genius came to the fore at a national-level abacus competition when he solved 100 mathematical problems — big and small — in five minutes flat. He was adjudged the ‘champion of champions’ (third level) at the contest and he brought home a trophy and a certificate. He says the first thing he did when he got home was hand his mother the trophy and tell her, “This is for you.”
Maurya’s parents chose abacus training for him to help him build skills such as speed, accuracy, memory power and concentration. Abacus is a calculating tool used to add, subtract, multiply and divide, and abacus classes have grown in popularity over the past few years. “I joined the abacus classes last year and when I was in second level, I secured the first prize in the State-level competition and got selected to participate in the national-level competition,” Maurya says.
This class III student at MES Kishore Kendra Public School in Vidyaranyapura thinks, speaks and dreams beyond his age. Books are his constant companion, he says. Whether it’s text books or comics, he finds the experience immersive, he explains. Besides cartoon television channels, he closely follows the news, says his mother Renukamba B.R.
Maurya says he worked very hard to do well in abacus. “Every day, after school hours, I practised for at least two hours. Sometimes I got up early and practised. I thought I will do well in the competition but never expected that I would emerge the ‘champion of champions’. But, my abacus teacher was very hopeful,” Maurya says. As we speak, he shows how he can crack a sum (of three digits and five to six rows) in four seconds flat. His abacus teacher Suchetha Ramachandra says that he is brimming with potential. “Winning that title is a huge thing as it is a challenging and competitive field.”
At school, his principal, Sikha Ray Chaudhuri, says he has done the institution proud. She describes him as an “obedient, well-mannered and studious child.” “He is particular about his work, very attentive in class, very helpful and obedient. He loves mathematics and is truly enamoured of abacus.”
Ask young Maurya what he wants to be when he grows up, and pat comes the reply: “IAS officer.” His proud father adds: “Yes, I hope that he will be able to inspire and help others in the future, and grow up to be a great human being.”