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A Microsoft certificate at eight

Siliguri, Feb. 15: “I want to build a computer that will respond to brain waves and dispense with the need to use hands,” says Mridul Seth, his fingers almost a whir as he punches the keys of a laptop.

Fresh from Bangalore where he successfully passed Microsoft’s online test on the software programmes devised by the firm, Mridul logs in to a site on Sikkim.

Within seconds, the screen changes to the site’s homepage, then to another on the hill state’s telecommunication.

“There is a lot more to do. Computers are like a gateway to a larger world for me,” says the shy eight-year-old designer of the two portals on the state that is also his home.

Later, as he prances about in the lawn with some other children without a trace of the earlier seriousness, it is difficult to believe he is the youngest Microsoft Certified Software Engineer, one of the most sought-after degrees for software professionals.

What makes Mridul’s story even more interesting is that until four years ago he did not even know how to speak.

His father, M.K. Seth, says: “Mridul was born without an external ear and his hearing ability is still weak. He learnt to speak late and was almost perennially sick when younger.

His extraordinary skills came to light when as a four-year-old he learnt counting 1 to 100 in 24 hours.

“I taught him tougher maths the next day and he had no problem understanding them,” Seth said.

On February 12, he successfully passed the Installing, Configuring and Administering Microsoft 2000 Professional Examinations held in Bangalore.

The family has written to the Guinness Book of World Records to acknowledge Mridul as the youngest person to earn the Microsoft degree.

Last year, when Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee visited Sikkim, he felicitated Mridul.

Talking about the boy’s achievement, Amar Nath, a Bangalore-based telecommunications consultant told The Telegraph over phone: “Cracking the Microsoft test is a feat that is even difficult for adults to achieve. For a child of eight to pass that test is unimaginable.”

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