Published: 02nd October 2019
This 9-year-old from Erode can find any place you name on the globe in seconds
SK Akatheesh, a nine-year-old from Erode bagged a place in the Indian Book of Records for his remarkable knowledge in Geography
When I look at the map, all I see is a blur of lines intersecting each other. Clearly, maps confuse me! To no one's surprise, I was not very good with geography and my teacher was quite strict, so a natural fear of the subject had been embedded in me right from the very beginning. While it was a combination of luck and persistence that saw me through the subject, here is a young boy from Erode for whom geography was literally love at first sight! Let me introduce you to S K Akatheesh, who is just nine years old.
How was it that this little kid, studying in Class IV, became friends so easily with the same lines that confused me? I just had to find out! I had a tête-à-tête with his mother, Savithri T, before I could talk to the young man in question. "One day, our neighbours informed us that they are visiting Mettur. Since Akatheesh was hearing the name of the place for the very first time, he became fascinated. Upon searching for Mettur on a map, he found it in Tamil Nadu. Curious, he continued exploring the map and this was how he became interested in spotting cities,” exclaims his mother.
When I asked about how they found Akatheesh’s calling at such a tender age, his mother replied, "Once, when we visited a book exhibition at Erode, he came across a globe and insisted that we buy it. At first, we were quite reluctant because we assumed that he had mistaken it for a toy. But he pestered us so much that we were left with no other option than to purchase it. He kept studying the globe all day long! Out of curiosity, I asked him to spot a few countries. To my surprise, he spotted them and also showed me a few new ones which he had discovered himself.”
Setting record: Akatheesh was enlisted in the Indian Book of Records on July 25, 2019 (Pic: Savithri T)
When Akatheesh’s capacity to spot places on the map kept growing from strength to strength, this proud parent, to ensure that her son’s talent is recognised, applied to the Indian Book of Records. The little champ now holds the record for ‘Child with excellent knowledge of Geography’. But how did he build enough confidence to take up this huge challenge? “We tried to motivate him by asking questions. This helped him gain a lot of confidence in his area of interest. It was the Internet that has helped him stay up-to-date, since most of the books we purchased were published years back and were outdated," explains his excited mother.
Merely identifying countries was not Akatheesh’s only area of interest. He could even identify them with their respective flags. He loves everything that has to do with maps so much, that he even familiarised himself with Google Maps! “Currently, he is trying to learn the distance between various cities using Google Maps but I am not pushing him too much because it is too much for his age,” explains his mother.
As I got curious on seeing his interest for maps, I wondered which place on earth does this little champ consider his ‘wonderland’? Pat came the reply, “Hamburg!” he exclaims. But why does he love a faraway place in Germany, I wondered again. "I love Hamburg because the roads are amazing and there are many tourist places too!" said the nine years old.