To possess the same IQ (Intelligent Quotient) as Stephen Hawking is a gift from nature or God. 11-year-old Sonakshi Seetohul in the U.K. has stunned everyone with her intelligence following the British Mensa’s IQ test. Today, the label of being a genius is being tagged to her name. The International Press has even put her on the list of geniuses comprising a personality like Albert Einstein. But what is it like to be a naturally-gifted child? In conversation this week with Sonakshi and her parents.
Sonakshi Seetohul, an 11-year old born to Mauritian parents, lives in London. She is being featured in the UK media. The East London and Essex Guardian newspaper has clearly compared her to Stephen Hawking, the world famous physicist and equally stated that 160 “is also the estimated IQ of Albert Einstein.” Her parents Gautam and Shoba Seetohul, both accountants, are proud parents of their unique child who has achieved massive success that is beyond their imagination. “We never imagined that her IQ would be so high. Sonakshi is a bright and smart child. She started reading books as from the age of three and could even write sentences. We are extremely proud of her. We get lots of positive feedback from her teachers at school, from our neighbours, friends and relatives. As parents, we feel blessed to have Sonakshi in our lives.”
It was the head mistress who recommended the parents to opt for an IQ test, as Sonakshi outperformed in her 11+ exams. “The head mistress was fully convinced about Sonakshi taking part in this test. In spite of the level of complexity in the 11+ exam, Sonakshi performed brilliantly. We decided to go for it, but we did not put any pressure on her. In fact, she was not prepared fully for the exams, as we were on holidays in Mauritius. But still, she got an excellent score,” says the mother.
The parents reveal that their daughter is disciplined, organized and does her own research whilst working on any project. “As parents, we create an atmosphere at home where she can study without any disturbance and we make sure that she has all the resources she needs, such as laptop, books, stationery. When she needs help with her homework or projects, she knows that she can approach mum and dad and we all work together to find a solution. We have always asked for her opinion before enrolling her for any exams and do not pressurize her to do what she does not like.”
But has this event brought any drastic change to her life? To this pertinent question, her parents aver that she has just started her secondary education. “We want her to go to university afterwards and she can decide to choose any field of study she desires. We are here to support her and of course, finance her studies.”
As parents, we create an atmosphere at home where she can study without any disturbance and we make sure that she has all the resources she needs, such as laptop, books, stationery."
As parents, Gautam and Shoba have seriously played an essential role to mold this little genius. They confide that during term time, they have their routine. “We believe that a restful brain can work hard. We give her time to relax after school, play games on her tablet, and watch TV. Then she will complete her homework before dinner. Afterwards she might read a book before going to bed. During weekends we go out – shopping, parks, theatre, sightseeing, visiting friends, cinema. As a family, we like travelling and visiting new places. So during school holidays, we organize trips mainly to Europe and Mauritius. Sonakshi keeps a fact file, that she uses for her research about the destinations and also lists places of interest and their history.”
Moreover, despite being brought up in London, Sonakshi loves Mauritius and is very well interested in Mauritian culture. “She tries to fit in wherever she goes, communicates with people and does not see language as a barrier, especially when in Mauritius, as some of our elders in the family and other relatives do not speak English. She tries to communicate in Creole with them and even uses some Bhojpuri. She is humble and helpful and respects the opinions of others.”
Writing as a passion
Sonakshi is actually a very good writer. She has been recognized and praised for her writing skills. She can easily read a whole novel within a single day. During her trips, she is always carrying a couple of paperbacks. Despite the presence of eBooks, she prefers turning the pages of a novel. This young lady is actually a book worm.
We want her to go to university afterwards and she can decide to choose any field of study she desires."
At school, she often contributed to the Newsletter. Impressed by her pen, her teacher devoted a special column to her in the school newsletter. She has penned several poems and articles. She is looking forward to becoming an author and wants to write about comedies and suspense thrillers.
As an environmental activist, she spends a lot of time reading about climate change and protection of the environment, two major issues that she is concerned about. In this context, she appeals to the public in general to protect the environment and animals.
Sonakshi Seetohul: “I am curious and want to learn new things”
Despite being accredited as being among the smartest, Sonakshi is still a down to earth young lady. She continues to be as simple as she used to be. In conversation with us, she reveals her happiness and provides some advice to the young in Mauritius.
What has been your feeling upon knowing that your IQ score is 160, which is similar to that Stephen Hawking?
I felt proud of myself and a bit shocked because I was not expecting it.
Earlier when you were at school, did you have the impression that you were always ahead of the school syllabus?
Yes, because all my end-of-year results were above expectations (relating to the national average).
Is this level of intelligence in your blood or have you worked for it?
Both. I study hard and my parents help me a lot, as they are both graduates.
What is the secret behind your smartness?
I don’t really have a secret to being smart. I am curious and want to learn new things and it’s really important to be disciplined.
Ever since you have learnt about your IQ score, how has your life changed?
My life hasn’t changed as such, but it made me realise that I have the ability to learn quicker than others and I can answer questions within a time constraint.
In which field do you want to pursue your career?
Maybe I will study law and also be an author.
Why this field?
It is intellectually challenging and financially rewarding. It’s also about rights, justice and understanding of human behavior and society.
What are your advices to students to succeed in exams?
My advice is: Give yourself enough time to study, practice all exam papers, take regular breaks, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and most importantly, don’t panic!
What do you think of young people wasting their time on digital platforms rather than using them to enrich their knowledge?
It is important to rest and play but in moderation - you still have to study. Time yourself.
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