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UAE: 6-yr-old boy eyes record as he does a take on Shakespeare

Khaleej Times logo Khaleej Times 15/05/2021 Dhanusha Gokulan
a sign in front of a brick building: UAE: 6-yr-old boy eyes record as he does a take on Shakespeare © Provided by Khaleej Times UAE: 6-yr-old boy eyes record as he does a take on Shakespeare

While most six-year-olds are still learning the basics of reading, writing and math, Dubai kid Vihaan Dasgupta is onto a challenge of Shakespearean proportions.

"Friends, Romans, Countrymen.. lend me your ears," a shy Vihaan recited during a video conversation with Khaleej Times this weekend. It is the first line of an iconic monologue from William Shakespeare's historical tragedy Julius Caesar. And Vihaan knows all 27 lines of it by heart.

The Grade 2 student of Emirates International School, Meadows, is set to land a spot in the India Book of Records for being the youngest to recite the entire speech by Mark Antony in the play, one of Shakespeare's best-known monologues. Penned in 1599, the play recounted the story of the Roman emperor's rise and subsequent assassination. "It took me three weeks to memorise the monologue," said Vihaan.

"I memorised four lines of the speech every day."

His mother Priyanka Dasgupta, said: "It was something he did over the spring break this year. I had figured that Vihaan has a sharp memory, and I put him on this task to see how far he could go."

In a matter of weeks, Vihaan was easily reciting the entire speech by Mark Antony. Surprised by his achievement, the family approached the Indian Book of Records to check if anyone else held a similar record.

"We sent a video to them, and got an e-mail from the editorial board confirming that he was the youngest in the world to recite the speech," said Priyanka, who works at a university in the UAE.

The e-mail from India Book of Records read: "He is the youngest person in the world to recite the speech 'Friends, Romans, Countrymen' which was delivered by Mark Antony to the Roman public."

Vihaan can memorise a lot of other things. "He can name the capitals of all countries capitals of Indian and American states, and the entire periodic table," said Priyanka.

Priyanka chose the Julius Caesar monologue for her son as it was close to her heart. "I had re- cited this very speech when I was in Grade 10. It is something that resonates with me," she said.

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