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Percentages,fractions,ratios,conversions of the metric tables are the stuff my nightmares are made of -(I)

February 24, 2008


The problem is as ancient as it can get.

And it didnt help as a kid that my mother was a math teacher and my sister was an ace at maths-the kinds who would cry copious amounts if they didnt score a full 100%. I couldnot really use the gender logic -‘women are bad with number, good with words’.I saw my mom once mentally total my monthly shopping bill while the cashier was still punching in the items. My sister would immediately ‘feel’ if the bill after the food/drinks is just not adding up.Come to think of it I am not the odd one in the family.I clearly remember my dad asking my mom once ‘is that a trapezium?’ and holding a prism.I totally empathise with him.That man is equally lost in the whole maze of numbers-I get my genes from him.Minus the ear hair and the nose hair I hope.

A distant relative who is a brilliant math teacher (yes it runs in the family!) taught my sister and she scored a full 100 in her 12th std (but of course). Four years later my mom packs me off to the same relative .No she was not hoping for a encore but the pragmatist that she was ,she just wanted me to pass.My ma knows a thing or two about setting expectations-that will be another post categorized under ‘sibling rivalry or childhood trauma’

Anways coming back to the present situation -the Relative was pretty clueless about my math skills-or lack thereof.He assumed the nut wouldnot fall far from the tree-but was he in for a shock.Now I need to clarify something here.My sister was in the science stream and I was in the arts (no surprises) but the math paper was common to the two streams.I took up math only because it was mandatory to have a math paper and get a full 50% (oh mother of god) if you wanted to take up Economics as a major in Delhi University.The clueless relative of course had no idea that me and the sister had different ambitions- she had to get a 100(nothing less, and thereon go on to do her engineering from BITS Pilani) while I just wanted my 50% (and get into Economics only because all my friends were planning for the same- my herd mentality started even before I joined the stock market).

Again I digress.First day.The said Relative starts with calculus -derivatives, first second and third no less .WTF? Needless to say it was the first time I ever opened my text book.I donot remember signing up for this .What is this? I almost faint.And on top of that Relative was from the old school- spare the rod and spoil the child.

AND he had his funny quirks :

insists on placing the equal sign at the exact midway between the division bar of a fraction.

insists on using a red dot pen for the question and blue for the answer.As you rightly guessed the blue pen was rather under utilized.

insists on ‘understanding’ the problems and use my brains to solve problems .Nobody has asked this of me.I believe if at first you donot get the answer -stop right there and run to your brilliant elder sister or make sure your roll number lets you sit next to the topper -right through school and college.

I go home reeling and wondering if my academic career comes to a halt right here. After a few more of such torture sessions the Relative realised something was wrong -yes we were on different planets altogether when it comes to Maths.He didnt know how to teach me because he only had good or brilliant students for one on one tuitions.The ones who loved cracking those calculus problems. And he couldnt really ‘fire me’ me being a relative etc etc.

After one particularly harrowing one hour of him trying to tell me that in calculus you just CANNOT cancel out the d‘s when you see a dx/dy (that is an operative you see.No I DONOT SEE you see) I decided to save the old man some of his energy for future generations of mathematicians.

I must be the only kid who tells the math teacher “I am not really into math .I just need a 50% blah blah blah.So why dont u teach me around 65% of the course and lets both hope I get my 50% -the easier 65% of the syllabus ,if you please.I still cannot forget the look of horror on his face. But nothing can beat the sheer determined look of a teenager- a teenager determined at lowering standards to such apathetic levels and with such pride.I seem to have chartered a whole new world for Losers.Who says only winner have to chalk out plans to get their 100s. Excuse me, it is equally challenging to aim for a 50% .

For the record I scored a 52% (maybe that 2% was due to the equal sign being right at the middle of the divisor-remember?)

And yes I did do my Undergraduate in Economics.Hell I even did my Masters in Economics!!

Butthe real horror starts after I get that 52%. And that will be in Part II.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. February 24, 2008 3:23 pm

    all that said and done….you really didnt manage to get away from the numbers did you??

  2. February 24, 2008 5:27 pm

    … i appreciate the sense of humour in the write-up. and all those words of mathematics are plain greek to me. someone worse then you exists …see! glad that finally you took up writing!

  3. March 2, 2008 6:18 am

    What about a career in cooking? No math involved, all you have to do is cook up something

  4. March 2, 2008 7:54 am

    hi you brought it out real well . its the same shit everywhere . i’m stuck with numbers formulas and logic thpugh its not quite my cup of tea .
    well articualted thoughts 🙂

  5. Gitu permalink
    March 3, 2008 6:05 am

    this one was hilarious………it was actually very good n so much like u.keep it up sis!

  6. Thee Knee permalink
    March 6, 2008 3:43 pm

    I think you have a clandestine affair with uhh ..Mr.Maths (Sid, where art thou ?) though you guys denounce each other, always manage to end up together …

    PS: Have you heard of Trachtenberg System of Arithmetic,
    I have started reading it,quite good, you need it?

  7. sid permalink
    March 8, 2008 6:47 pm

    when is the next part being published???? am waiting for it:-)

  8. September 28, 2008 2:53 am

    Anyone know how to do percents and ratios
    ME : Not me for sure!!

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