Troublesome math

Sunita Giri 10:13 PM |

Reading national daily today came with somewhat new sense of relief in my heart. Today the SLC result was out and it said out of approx 500,000 the people only about 44% passed but those who failed in their SLC exam, 43% failed in math alone. This is the highest percentage than any other subjects in schools. I can personally understand this because when I was in school math was my weakest subject. To be honest math was, is and will remain the weakest subject in my life. OK, fine I can do some basics but that's it. I do remember my school days when this was one of the weakest subject and used to put me in trouble; low self esteem in front of those who were smarter in this subject and bad relationship with math and science teacher is one of the reason. Well, maybe, more than me the others around me also was not comfortable with math being my weakest subject.

I could have been about 10 -11 years old, when I sat down with Nee. Her name is Niru but most of us used to call her Nee. Knowing that she was good in math I asked her to teach me some math problems. Remember, I was not very studious girl to go to somebody for help that too when the subject is as boring as math. But, there must have been some strict warnings if we do not do that particular homework in time or I could have been noticed by my math teacher due to my weakness. I don't remember it now for whatever the reason that made me to sit down with Nee to seek help in this matter. So, Nee started with very good intention to help me in my math problems. Opening a book and picking one particular   exercise, she started the class like she had seen her teachers doing it during classes, “suppose X + Y = 5” or something like that. I stopped her there and then asked her, “what is suppose ? why do I have to suppose ?” She looked at me for some time and then changed the word with “imagine X + Y = 5.” I had to stop her there too, to clear my confusion; I looked at her with cats look on my face and then asked her, “imagine, what is imagine and how can I imagine  X + Y = 5  ?.”  

She was very sweet and helpful person and because she was very good in math than other girls in our class and in room also, so she was willing to help me but now she thought to give in when she saw that there is no way she can ever help me in my confusion about math. Because I do not remember another such sit down with Nee and then Math remained my weak subject throughout my school and college days.

Couple of years later, Nee and I was in same room [Bal Mandir]. I think we had been sharing   same room for many years but this time because we were paired up to do some work together so I remember now. The work was to carry the morning and evening plates to the kitchen from our room for a month. We could do it together each time or give one time of the day to  each one, meaning if I do it in the evening then she has to do it in the morning time. It so happened that I was doing it in the evening and we were doing it separately.

One day Nee requested me to do the job morning time instead of my usual evening time, saying she has some other work in the morning time and in turn she will do it in the evening time for couple of days. Her logic was, “why not you do it morning and then I will  do it in the evening.” I had did this just the last evening and now she was telling me to do it in the morning again, so my response obviously was, “but I just did it last evening and I have to do it again this morning too ?” She was trying to convince me that, “anyway we have to do it once in twenty four hour, what difference it makes if its morning or evening ?” But I stick with what I said before “ but I just did it and you are telling me to do it again.”

Nee was very level headed person compared to other girls in Bal Mandir and so tried hard to convince me with her reasoning and problem to understand the situation which I did not get it then. So she may have switched this work with other girl for next month or so to sort out her problem, as I was not understanding. I was not understanding her reading but if I try to look back and try to see it from her angle, it seems that it was more of the thing I was not ready to cooperate with her rather than being confused with time factor issue. One thing for sure, I don't feel bad now about the stupidity of my childhood or teenage mistakes.

Years later, during our rare gatherings I sat down with Nee and then try to catch up our old time, I asked her, “Nee, do you remember trying to teach me math or my confusion with suppose or imagine questions ?”  It seemed that she had forgotten all that but responded wisely like she always does, “what difference it makes if your math was so weak, you are so good in what you are doing and your weakness does not even matter to anywhere and definitely not you !”

I did not know that my childhood friends saw me with so much respect and so high regards for me than I see myself, Now she is right I can say 5 + 5 is 25,  or it could be 2500, nah its not even close it can be 5,000 or 50,000 without much reasoning. Well if you don't believe me then try to put some negative message in your Facebook status that is about our corrupt politicians cursing them to see how many buzz it will create in the society and then see the result yourself in just couple of days.

Mark Zukerberg, you have no idea how thankful I am to your magic invention of social networking site, Facebook. I can be soo wrong in math when I say 2 + 2 is 22 or 22,000 but in reality it will crush all the preconceived notion about the math in reality and in real world.

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