Mathematics is the queen of the sciences.
– Carl Friedrich Gauss
And I pity the King. Blame it on my not-so-good mathematical experience. To sum it up, I just hate mathematics. So much so, when I last changed my job they asked me, “So how much do you expect?” I said: “I am fine with anything as long as I don`t have to count and spend my money.”
For long I had thought Srinivasa Ramanujam was a vocalist. He somehow had that ring to his name. And I guess, that is why I was pretty disappointed when my father said he was a mathematician. Not that my father was good in math…he still thinks he has two children, when in fact we are three.
My next brush with math was when in class three, one bald 35-year-old man asked me to bring along my parents to school. On enquiry my desk-mate said he was our math teacher. Funny because I had not realized….and I had been attending all his classes. I somehow had this feeling that I had never seen his face. Perhaps, it was because he always faced the blackboard scribbling the problems. But I did recognize his back….as soon as he finished speaking to my parents, and turned…I shouted: “Well, that`s my math teacher.”
My parents had met my math teacher. But that hadn`t helped because…as I told you earlier my father was also weak in math. As for my mother…she thought my father was actually the Issac Newton of mathematics…so you can imagine where my mother stood.
Women are supposed to be good at bargaining…but not my mother. I was standing next to her…and she was having this discussion with the fruit vendor.
“How much will you charge for one dozen mangoes?” my mother asked.
“Rs five per mango madam. One dozen will be sixty rupees madam.” It was the vendor speaking.
“No, that is too much. Here is the deal…I buy 15 mangoes but you will have to give it to me for nothing more than 100 rupees. So deal?”
Without batting an eye, the vendor said: “It is a deal madam. You seem like a hard bargainer.”
I could not calculate the loss to the family early enough to salvage some pride. But I did notice a smirk on the vendor`s face….and we are now his most favored customers.
My sisters weren`t good either. They were so bad that after sometime the teachers stopped calling our parents to school. Instead they started praying. One of them even lighted a candle everyday at the nearby church.
If you are not good in math, and you are a kid…it is alright. But once you grow up and there is s&*^-load of responsibilities on you…it becomes difficult without math.
For example, while discussing with my father-in-law (just before my marriage to Rekha)…he asked me: “So what do you expect in dowry?”
“I am not good in math, so you could give me whatever you feel like.” I replied.
Surprisingly he was not upset that I was asking for dowry. Instead he hugged me and tears rolled down his eyes. He whispered into my ears: “Don`t worry my son, I know what you actually need.”
I still have the Mathematics book (of 856 pages) that my Father-in-law gifted me…because I had told him: “I am not good in math, so you could give me whatever you feel like.”