Ten-year-old Deep Shah can mentally multiply 999 by 2,300 within seconds, but he insists he's no child prodigy, just a good student of Vedic maths. Vedic maths, derived from ancient Hindu scriptures called the Vedas, claims to enable students to calculate complex sums faster and in a much simpler way, a skill thousands of students are clamouring for in India's highly competitive school system. Unlike traditional mathematics, Vedic maths offers several options to work out a calculation and cuts the number of steps required to find a solution. "I like Vedic maths because I can do the calculation more easily and faster, just like a calculator," said the beaming Shah, who lives in Mumbai. He said he can easily multiply any four-digit number by 999 within seconds. Vedic maths is based on a set of 16 key formulae and some subsidiary formulae given in word form. These formulae, compiled between 1911 and 1918, help calculate the way the mind naturally functions, experts say. Students are now taking up these formulae to gain an edge over others in India's highly competitive, exam-geared school system and dozens of colleges and schools have introduced supplementary Vedic maths lessons to help students. "A few years ago no one heard of Vedic maths," said author Kenneth Williams, who teaches the subject on the Internet and has run courses at the Oxford University. "It is certainly better than the maths currently taught and the recognition it is now receiving throughout the world proves its effectiveness," he said. The growing popularity of Vedic maths in India has prompted teacher Deep Kapadia to set up 13 centres across the country and enter tie-ups with seven colleges in Mumbai. Plans are also underway to open a centre in Muscat and Chicago by the end of the year, said Kapadia, who teaches 1,000 students a year now compared with only 100 a few years ago. "Anyone who hates maths will start to love it. You can solve a problem in two or three ways," said Nirmal Doshi, 42, a textile engineer who has been studying Vedic maths for the last eight years.