PANVEL: Four-year-old Tanish Shelar passes a surprised look at his six-year-old cousin when he pronounces Belgium as ‘Bel-jim’. He corrects his cousin promptly, “It’s ‘Belgium’.”
Shelar, a junior kindergarten student at St Jude’s in Panvel, can speak in seven languages — Sanskrit, German, Kannada, Gujarati, Marathi, Hindi and English. It all started when Tanish was eight-months-old when his mother, Dr Vedika Shelar, then living in Sholapur with her in-laws, heard through a friend about Siddha Samadhi Yoga (SSY). Founded by Rushi Prabhakar Guruji, their Infant Siddha Programme helps the overall development of a child. The programme specified that a child can be taught up to 20 languages by the age of six.
“I started speaking to him in English when he was just eight months. Then I proceeded to read and identify words with him in various languages,” says the dentist who has a clinic at Khandeshwar.
His parents say that by one year and eight months, Tanish could identify words. And he also spoke his first Marathi word - ‘paav’ (bread). At two years, he could read text books of Class I children — and that too in front of a mesmerised audience of 2,000-plus at Panvel.
SSY had called him to demonstrate the effectiveness of their programme.
However, his talent has had its negative sides too. “People think he’s showing off,” says his father, Dr Vinay Shelar, a 32-year-old consultant physician at Gandhi Hospital, Panvel.
Unconcerned about people’s opinions and frustrated about being denied cable television for the next two days till school reopens, Tanish shrugs, “A mistake is a mistake.” And gets back to impersonating Batman with his towel.