Rakshitha Kumar’s parents became aware of their daughter’s remarkable memory after playing a game to keep her occupied on an 11-hour flight from India
A girl of two can recite the capital cities of all 196 countries in under five minutes. Rakshitha Kumar already knows the capitals of some of the world’s most obscure and little heard of countries.
And she effortlessly works through them all in alphabetical order, continent by continent, at an age when a lot of children are still learning to walk. She can tell you that the capital of Kazakhstan in central Asia is Astana and the capital of neighbouring Uzbekistan is Tashkent.
Crossing to Africa, she knows instantly that the capital of tiny Lesotho is Maseru and that the capital of Mauritania in the Sahara is Nouakchott.
The remarkable achievement has its seeds in an 11-hour plane journey when her father Ramesh Kumar, 33, and mother Kavitha, 30, tried to keep her occupied by learning the capitals of India, Britain and a handful of other major world countries.
To their astonishment, she was able to memorise every capital they mentioned. Intrigued, the family bought a colourful children’s book listing 30 of the world’s better known capital cities. Within a week, angelic Rakshitha had learned all 30 off by heart.
And now, she can recite the capital cities of 196 countries after just three months of learning and memorising. When her mother or father call out the name of a country, little Rakshitha answers back with the right city.
And videos uploaded to YouTube by Kavitha show Rakshitha naming capitals as though it was as easy as saying one, two, three. Proud Ramesh hopes her thirst for knowledge will continue into her adult life.
Ramesh, a project manager with Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “My wife and daughters came over from India to the UK in March and on the flight we were keeping Rakshitha occupied, telling her that the capital of India was New Delhi and the place we were going to was London.
“We were very surprised when she came up to us a day after playing the game and was able to recite them all back to us.
“From a very young age, she has been interested in books and her memory retention has been excellent.
“I don’t think I’d even be able to do it if I tried to say them back right now and it was great to see how enthusiastic she was for learning and memorising details.
“She did so well learning the 30 countries from the book, we thought, ‘Well let’s just show her all of them and see what she remembers’ and in the space of two or three months she’d learned them all. My wife’s done it with her working through each continent at a time. My wife has a capital cities app on her phone and that’s the way the countries come up on the app – in alphabetical order by each continent. My other daughter is only 10 months old at the moment but hopefully she shows a similar interest for learning.”
It’s not just capital cities Rakshitha can remember – she knows nursery rhymes and lullabies word perfect too.
Ramesh said: “Even when I sing her a lullaby and I think she’s sleeping, the next day she’ll be up and about singing it back to me.”
The first signs of Rakshitha’s passion for learning appeared when she was being looked after by her grandfather and was able to learn how to string whole sentences together at an age when most children only have a vocabulary of a few words. (Findlay Mair/UK Mirror)