Ananya Verma is four and studies in Class IX

Ananya with her father, Tej Bahadur Verma, and mother Chhaya Devi
Talk to her and Ananya Verma sounds like any other four-year-old. But put a book in front of her and the child reads it with jaw-dropping fluency.

Such is her grasp over languages that the Lucknow district inspector of schools took it upon himself to grant special permission to admit her in Class IX straightaway. Ananya, who lives in Lucknow, has never been to school before this. But now the girl who is three months shy of her fifth birthday is a Class IX student at St Meera's Inter College, which is located off the Lucknow-Kanpur highway.

Ananya's father, Tej Bahadur Verma, has studied till Class VIII. Her mother, Chhaya Devi, is unlettered. The family migrated to Lucknow from its native village in Tiloi in Rae Bareli district about two decades ago in search of a better life. Verma started working in a school. He is now employed as an assistant sanitation supervisor at the Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University in Lucknow.

It was he who first noticed his daughter's extraordinary ability. "It was about two years ago, when she started reading The Ramayana on her own, without anybody guiding her," he says.

The family was delighted, but not necessarily surprised. After all, Ananya's older siblings are also as exceptionally gifted. Her elder sister, Sushma, is pursuing a PhD from Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University at the age of 16. She had cleared her Class X exams in 2007 at the tender age of seven after the authorities made a special case for her to appear for the exam. She had then made it to the Limca Book of Records as the youngest student to pass Class X. Later, she completed her BSc and took admission in PhD last year.

The oldest of the three siblings, Ananya's bother Shailendra, had completed his Bachelor of Computer Application at the age of 14. He is 24 now and works with a software company in Bengaluru.

That was the first time that the Verma family had come to the limelight. Years later, the children continue to surprise.

If Ananya does clear the Class X Uttar Pradesh Board exams in 2018, she would dislodge her sister to enter the Limca Book of Records as the youngest person to achieve the feat.

There is, however, a glitch. Her admission is still to be validated by the UP Board. She does not meet the age criteria, so the online system of the Board has not registered her as a student yet.

The district inspector of schools and the school authorities will apply to the UP Board to seek special permission for Ananya.

Having exhibited exemplary reading and grasping prowess for her age, reading difficult texts in Hindi, she is now quickly catching up with English and mathematics as well.

St Meera's Inter College Manager Vinod Ratra says the school is offering free education to Ananya. Some good Samaritans have come forward to fund her books, stationery and other academic material.

"Her family used to live in the school premises when Ananya was born," says Ratra. "I am happy that she is now a student of our school and is on her way to create a new record."