Tailor-Made Talent
THE WEEK|August 18, 2019

A father chose a unique path for his children, and that has made them wunderkinds

Rahul Devulapalli

AT AN AGE WHEN children were just being introduced to four-digit numbers, Naina Jaiswal was solving complicated equations. Naina was only eight when she passed her class ten exams with first class. Her younger brother, Agastya, too, followed in her footsteps. And, when they were both around 10 years old, they cleared their class 12 exams. But how did they manage this incredible feat?

It is to unravel this mystery that we arrive in Kachiguda, a residential locality in central Hyderabad. As we enter the building, a teenager approaches us and asks, “Are you here to meet sir?” Yes, we say, and she leads us to a well furnished two-bedroom flat on the first floor. The sir she refers to is Ashwini Kumar Jaiswal.

And, he reminds us of Aamir Khan in Dangal; the actor played the role of wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat, father of the Phogat sisters. That could be because Jaiswal, 44, was a bodybuilder and had joined an akhada as a youngster and participated in local wrestling competitions. Though the Jaiswals’ flat does not resemble an akhada, there is an air of deference here. Jaiswal is surrounded by students and family, including his wife, Bhagyalaxmi, and when he is around, they stand with folded arms. The students, from class one to those doing postgraduation, have no qualms in helping out with household chores, too, like serving tea or water to guests or keeping the house in order. Almost 24 of these students spend most part of their days at a flat, rented by Jaiswal on the same floor, which is under CCTV surveillance, where they study until they are interrupted with a beta by their “sir”.

Pointing to a 19-year-old, Jaiswal asks, “Do you see this guy? He was very violent. His parents came all the way from Punjab requesting me to help him. He was a complete failure in studies. I accepted the challenge and told them to shift to Hyderabad. Today, I can proudly say that I have transformed the boy into a well-mannered youngster pursuing law.” He calls another student, also in his late teens, from the adjacent flat, and says, “He was declared mentally unfit by his school and doctors as he would struggle to write. I assured his parents that he is normal. I have been training this boy for years. He can write well now and is excelling at academics.”

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