Eight-year-old Kesia Susan is a world record holder and geography wiz. She knows all the countries and capitals

We spoke to Kesia Susan, who created a world record for reciting the names of all the countries and capitals in under than two minutes!
Kesia Susan
Kesia Susan

There are 195 countries in the world. Eight-year-old Kesia Susan John has been to four of them — India, the country where her parents are from, Qatar, the country where she lives, Oman and Sri Lanka. But quiz this fourth grader on any country and its capital and you'll be astonished by the speed and precision with which she answers. A student of Qatar's MES Indian School, she recently made it to the International Book of Records after she recited the names of all 195 countries along with their capitals in a span of two minutes and 52 seconds. She holds the same record in the Indian Book of Records too.

Kesia's father John Manappallil, who hails from Alappuzha in Kerala, tells us that it all started three years ago when Kesia was five years old. "We noticed how she easily memorised facts better than other children. We were curious to see if she could remember the names of all the Indian states, their capitals and their Chief Ministers," he says. "She was quite reluctant initially and kept asking why she had to learn a lot of new things. But she picked it up quite fast," he adds.

Little did her parents know that they were in for a surprise. "The only problem here was that the Chief Ministers kept changing frequently. So we had to keep her updated here," John laughs. Kesia, however, knows the names of all the Chief Ministers of Indian states. She did not waste a second in shooting the correct answers back at us.

It took Kesia a little over a year to memorise the names of the countries and their capitals, says John. "I wrote it down once and then kept reading it over and over," Kesia tells us. "Practice made her perfect. She was quite young when we started out. So, if you did not ask her these questions for a couple of months, she would forget the answers," says John.

The lockdown, John says, had allowed Kesia some extra time to brush up her knowledge and take part in a few virtual quiz competitions. "In the first week of November, I asked her if she could recite the names in alphabetical order and she did that in four minutes! She recognised the names of 199 countries in fact, but the UN has officially accepted only 195 of them. While she initially took four minutes, she was able to bring it down to less than two minutes. This was quite surprising," he says.  

Now it wasn't quite surprising to know that Kesia is one of the class toppers. "However, we make sure that rather than learning the answers by heart, she actually understands the concepts," says John. Kesia, who says that she wants to be an English teacher, now has another mission in front of her. She says, "I want to memorise the currencies of all the countries in the world. I can name a few already."

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