Give brain exercise to remain sharp

ABU DHABI — “Age has not dimmed my memory. I feel I am in the 20s even now. In fact, as age advances, I am becoming sharper,” says mathematical wizard Shakuntala Devi who has been stunning the world with her mastery over numbers and complex calculations since the 1940s when she was only three.

By T. Ramavarman (Special Correspondent)

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Published: Mon 7 Apr 2008, 8:54 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 4:46 PM

She made these observations while speaking with Khaleej Times after participating in an interactive session organised by the Innovative Development Centre for Educational Aptitude (IDEA), a voluntary group, in association with the Centre of Excellence for Applied Research and Training (CERT) here on Saturday evening.

Shakuntala Devi, who has outdone even some of the best computers and has several awards to her credit including an entry into the Guinness Book of World Records, does not hide the secret behind her agility. She is in fact keen to let it out so that others can draw some valuable lessons.

“I give my brain a lot of hard work. When you exercise your brain continuously, it will become sharper and stronger.”

The lively session with her, which was replete with several hilarious interludes and exciting demonstrations of her mathematical prowess, was testimony to her creative strategies to derail the designs of old age to conquer her.

“Mathematics is being made boring or scary mainly by some of the teachers. Numbers can be made fascinating, exciting and entertaining if you are able to kindle an affection towards them among the children,” she said.

“Mathematics will sharpen your memory in a healthy way, and it can open the gates to rich treasures of knowledge in wide areas of life. Why mathematics is being singled out by teachers for such a frustrating treatment by the teachers?

“This is because it is an exacting science and does not allow teachers to be casual about it. Since most of our teachers are poorly paid, they find this demand for rigour frustrating,” she explained.

Shakuntala Devi laments the increasing dependence on machines and calculators was leading to a fast erosion of the capabilities of the human brain in the contemporary world, and this is going to be a grave issue for future generations.

Building trust in oneself is the most important requisite for success in life. And you must remain focused on what you want to achieve throughout life, Shakuntala Devi adds.

“I had never been to a school. Had I gone to a school, it might not have been possible for me to achieve all these feats,” she said.

Shakuntala Devi is setting up an international centre for mathematics in Bangalore in India.

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