Shakuntala Devi was born in Bangalore, India, to an orthodox Kannada Brahmin family. Her father rebelled against becoming a temple priestand instead joined a circus where he worked as a trapeze artist, lion tamer, tightrope walker and magician. Devi's father discovered her ability to memorize numbers while teaching her a card trick when she was about three years old. Her father left the circus and took her on road shows that displayed her ability at number crunching. She was able to do this without any formal education. By age six she demonstrated her calculation and memorization abilities at the University of Mysore.
Devi travelled the world demonstrating her arithmetic talents, including a tour of Europe in 1950 and a performance in New York in 1976. In 1988 she returned to the US to have her abilities studied by Arthur Jensen, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. Jensen tested her performance at several tasks, including the calculations of large numbers; Examples of the problems presented to Devi were calculating the cube root of 61,629,875, and the seventh root of 170,859,375. Jensen reported that Devi was able to provide the solution to the aforementioned problems (the answers being 395 and 15 respectively) before Jensen was able to copy them down in his notebook. Jensen published his findings in the academic journal Intelligence in 1990. In addition to her work as a mental calculator, Devi was an astrologer and an author of several books, including cookbooks and fictional novels.
This kind of skills are rare very rare these skills unlike artistic skills like sports, music, can be taught be taught by another to a very high degree.