Neha Ramu loves watching Akshay Kumar movies over the weekends, like many 12-year-olds. She is a devoted fan of Harry Potter books, is addicted to Nintendo Wii, loves to swim—again like many girls her age. So what? Well, Neha has an IQ higher than Albert Einstein. She also beats iconic physicist Stephen Hawking by a slender margin. Neha scored an incredible 162 on a Mensa IQ test, the highest score possible for her age. Einstein, Hawkins and Bill Gates are thought to have IQs of 160. “IQ is nothing unless I put it to right use. They have achieved much more than I can even dream of,” says Neha, matter-of-factly. She says she took the high-IQ Mensa club test only out of curiosity. “After the test, I wasn’t even expecting to become a member, forget about the high score, as I found the test extremely hard.”
The Ramus, both opthalmogists, came to the UK from Bangalore five years ago. “We have always given her free rein, and we believe this has contributed to her immense success today. We encourage her to take her own decisions, but are there to support and advise her,” says her justly proud mother Jayashree. A student of Tiffin’s Girls School, Kingston-upon-Thames, Neha has already taken her SAT, usually taken by students at 17 or 18 for university admissions. Her immediate aim, though, is to join the Army Cadets in Kingston.
Neha, whose IQ was found to be 162 in a Mensa test, beats the likes of Einstein, Hawkings (pictured) and Bill Gates.
Jayashree says Neha was a mischievous child “with a talent for throwing tantrums” and it’s “almost magical” how she has changed after joining her present school. Right now, Neha is a star among her friends. “Actually, I hadn’t told them. When they found out, they were extremely happy because one among them is so gifted. Though they are not treating me any different, they think IQ and academic success are comparable, which is not true.” She has always been an exceptional student, though, scoring a perfect 280/280 when she took an entrance exam for her school. Her favourite subjects are maths and chemistry. “When I did the summer programme last year on ‘Sensation and Perception’, I realised how much I love learning about the nervous system.” She says wants to take up neurosciences and become a neurologist.
But this new tag of child prodigy comes with its own set of pressures. “All of a sudden, people are expecting more out of me. But with the support of my parents, I have learnt to carry on the way I was doing and not get carried away,” she says. Her parents too are aware of the dangers of sudden fame and exposure in childhood, so they are even more careful not to push their daughter towards higher and tougher goals. “There is definitely more expectation from her now. We try to keep her focused on her daily curriculum and just consider this yet another test she has taken up.”
For now, the family is just soaking in all the attention they are getting both in the UK and in India. How are they going to celebrate? “Well, she wasn’t expecting a celebration, but we have decided to reward her by doing something we know will give her immense happiness. We are going to India during Easter vacation, as most of our family and friends are there, and they are planning to throw a big party once we arrive.”
So, Bangalore, get ready to welcome Neha, IQ 162.
By Nabanita Sircar in London