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India’s Mathemagician multiplies numbers at lightning speed

Sagaya Fernando

Mumbai: 2 December 2020

Born into an average Indian family in the state of Kerala 30 years ago, Vivek Raj never thought that he would become a Math’s wizard one day, and bag awards for doing the fastest mental calculations with ease.

Vivek, a resident of Arattuvazhy village in Alappuzha district of Kerala, who now conducts shows titled ‘Mathemagics’ for young students, got hooked to calculations when his father Raphael P C (a school teacher then) gifted him a simple calculator when he turned 13 years of age and was in Class VII.

The turning point in his life came when his Class XII English teacher Fr. Titus Chullickal asked his students what came into their mind thinking of number 7. While some of the students replied about the seven wonders of the world, the seven colours of the rainbow and the seven continents, Vivek multiplied the number seven by itself several times and reached a 11-digit number in a matter of seconds.  (7x7=49x7=343x7=2,401x7=16,807x7=1,17,649x7=8,23,543x7=57,64,801x7=4,03,53,607x7=28,24,75,249x7=1,97,73,26,734x7=13,84,12,87,201)

Sensing that Vivek has an extraordinary talent Fr. Titus along with his parents father Raphael P C and mother Annekutty (who was also a school teacher) encouraged him to take a leap into mental calculations.

“I experimented different types of calculations using the calculator, and studied multiplication tables on the calculator. My particular skill if progression calculations. My calculating speed is 1.5 amperes per second,” says Vivek.

His unique talent brought him recognition in 2016 when he received two certificates from Limca Book of Records (which documents world records held by Indians). For the first certification (fastest multiplication), Vivek was given the number 67 by the Limca Book of Records examiners, and he multiplied it five times within 15 seconds to get a 11-digit number. For the second certificate (fastest addition), he added the number 23 for 19 times in 10 seconds.

In June 2016, he received the Asian Record for Fastest Mental Calculation; and in April 2018, picked up the World Record in The Arabian Book of Records.

“I have been inspired by human calculator Scott Flansburg,” says Vivek.

“The unique feature of Maths is that we can use any method to arrive at an answer. We should apply the best efficient method to get to the answer. For example, if you want to multiply two 3-digit numbers, besides the conventional method there is also a Vedic Maths way of calculation. The students should be taught the best and interesting method so as to make Maths an engaging subject,” says Vivek, who runs a website called to eliminate math-phobia in students and teach the methods of Vedic Mathematics.


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