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Tathaghat Avatar Tulsi was a child prodigy at 6. After a bumpy ride, he has been gestating at IIT Bombay for four years, and one is still not sure what will emerge.

At six, Tathaghat Avatar Tulsi could multiply triple digits. At 26, he finds it hard to verbalise the meaning and importance of concepts like friendship. "To have deep friendships, you have to devote a lot of time, and then what? It has no utility," says the professor of Physics at IIT Bombay. Since 2010, Tulsi has been researching Theoretical Quantum Computing to build new algorithms that will help create super computers to solve complex problems. Perhaps, one of them will help answer the definition and utility of platonic relationships.

Utility is a measure for much of his life, even fame. "I liked the fame I received as a child. I still like fame, and want it. When you have it, you can make money," he says.

And Tulsi knows a few things about glory. At six, the boy from Bihar was classified by the media as a mathematical prodigy. At 14, he was branded a fraud. In between, he completed schooling at nine, got a BSC degree at 10, an MSc at 12 and a PhD at 22. In 2001, the Department of Science and Technology admitted to having made a blunder by sending Tulsi to Germany the previous year for an interaction with physics Nobel laureates, embarrassing the contingent with his scant knowledge.

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