Sharjah: How many dinosaurs can you name? She can identify around 60 in a minute.
Do you remember the names of astronauts who walked on the moon other than Neil Armstrong and Edwin Buzz Aldrin? She can list all the 12 moonwalkers with the years of their feats in less than one minute — that too blindfolded.
Meet Serah Maria Charit, a five-year-old Indian student in Sharjah, who has entered the Asia Book of Records and the India Book of Records for being the “fastest to recall blindfolded names astronauts and the years of their walking on the moon.”
She recalled the names of 12 astronauts and their respective years of walking on the moon in 46 seconds while being blindfolded at the age of five years, 10 months and four days as confirmed on February 18, 2021, reads the record description.
This week, the KG2 student of Sharjah Indian School got into the Asia Book of Records once again for identifying the maximum number of species of dinosaurs in one minute. She identified the pictures of 59 species of dinosaurs with their correct names in one minute at the age of five years, 10 months and 29 days as confirmed on March 13, 2021, said the record description. She broke the existing record of identifying 52 dinosaurs in a minute.
Turning point in Sharjah
Serah’s father Jojo Charit, who runs a business in Sharjah, told Gulf News that his little prodigy had started talking when she was just eight months. Her mother Dr Alphy Jojo, an ayurvedic doctor, said: “I used to mention names of the things she could recognise and say flower, AC, car etc and she picked them up fast.”
When she turned one, Serah moved to Sharjah from her hometown in the South Indian state of Kerala. “Then I told her baby, now we are in Sharjah. I told her that a few times. Next day we were playing and I asked baby, where are we now? She answered ‘Sharjah’. I was surprised. From that point I realised she has a good memory.”
When she was small, Serah’s parents found it very hard to make her sleep. “I started introducing her to picture books. I used to ask her to point out things in the books. And she was doing it correctly,” her mom recollected. “Soon after turning one, she used to turn the pages of the books and point out things and ask me what is this with her facial expressions.”
“I played rhymes for her on speakers. At one-and-a-half year, she started to sing rhymes. The lyrics were not clear but she could sing more than 15 rhymes. From that time, she started to learn more about colours, supermarket logos and other general stuff.”
Finding countries on atlas
When they went to the Sharjah International Book Fair, the parents bought many picture books for Serah and also an atlas. “My siblings are in Sweden and Australia. So, I used to show her that they are in those countries and we are in the UAE on the atlas that we stuck on the wall,” said Jojo.
Serah could identify those countries very soon and at the age of two she started memorising different countries, their flags and capitals, the parents said.
When she turned two-and-a-half years, they said, Serah could list the names of 110 countries and their capitals and identify their flags.
At the age of four, she could also name all the planets, the states and union territories in India, districts in Kerala, presidents and prime ministers of India, secretary generals of the United Nations, astronauts who walked on the moon, all bones in the human body and so on.
Passionate in palaeontology
Her current interest is in prehistoric animals, dinosaurs and palaeontology — the study of fossil and history of life on earth. “Last year, when the UAE sent its first astronaut to space, she became interested in astronauts and moon missions. That’s how she learnt the names of all moonwalkers,” said Jojo.
“She says she wants to be a paleontologist. We are not interfering in her interests. We are taking things as they come and letting her do what she wants without forcing her to do anything.”
“She doesn’t like us interfering in what she learns. She uses voice-assisted search and finds everything on Google. Nowadays, only if she has doubts she asks us. If something is not clear to her, she will repeatedly ask about it till she understands it properly. We opted for achieving these records only after one of our friends said this would get recognition for her unique memory power.”
Digging for dinosaurs in desert
Her parents claimed that Serah learnt everything about the dinosaurs all by herself through cartoons, scientific books for kids and Google.
Ask Serah why she wants to be a paleontologist, pat comes her reply: “Because there were so many dinosaurs long … long before and they died and got buried because of volcanoes and sandstorm. I want to find dinosaurs in the desert.”
And she also wishes to learn more about Micropachycephalosaurus, the single specimen of which was found in China, because she has read that it is known as a “mystery dinosaur.”
Issues related to high IQ
The parents said they are happy about her high intelligence quotient (IQ) but were concerned about her sleeping routine. “She doesn’t sleep at all at night. We need to coerce her a lot. Sometimes she sleeps well in the morning. She doesn’t look affected by this. But, we have consulted two-three doctors. They said this is quite common among genius children or people with high IQ and unique abilities,” said Jojo. “She also doesn’t develop thick friendships with other kids. She is mostly in her own world, reading books or watching cartoons related to topics of her interest. She also gets bored and restless in the class when teachers repeat the lessons for all kids to understand.”
He said it was a big issue before classes became online. “After we told teachers about her nature, they started giving her special books so that she would read them when she can’t study like other kids. She says the class lessons are boring. But, she is good at answering all the questions and scores full marks in everything,” her father proudly said, adding that his wife was the main force supporting their daughter’s special ability.