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Wedding Conversation

A few days back, I sent a short note (a fictitious conversation) to the guys at Anti Serious Magazine. I have waited a respectable amount of time and since they have not published it yet, so I assume they are not going to. I am posting this here because I don’t see any point in sending it to any other place. The piece is not so good, so I did not mind that much when they didn’t publish it. Anyways here it goes.

“Hi, how are you doing?”

“Hello, I am fine. The party is great! What about you?”

“Yes, its good. The wine is really nice. Indian weddings and wine seem a tad bit unnatural.”

“Well, times are changing nowadays.”

“So, what do you do for a living?”

“I am a mathematician. I prove theorems. What about you?”

“I am a writer, I write stories and poems mostly.”

“That’s really nice.”

“So, tell me what is 237 multiplied with 93?”

“Umm….I don’t know that. Wait, let me check my cellphone.”

“Haha….but you are supposed to know that stuff!”

“Why?”

“Because you are a mathematician!”

“Hmmm….what is your favourite novel?”

“The count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.”

“That’s really nice, even I like that one. Ok, then tell me what are the jewels that Dantes found in the island?”

“Umm…let me see. I guess, some sapphires, rubies, diamonds and the usual stuff.”

“Ha…but you should know that! You are a writer and you love that book. Why don’t you know exactly what he found there?”

“Well, you see we do not read a novel to memorise it and then answer stupid questions to strangers.”

“I understand that. Then why do you expect me to answer you what is 237 times 93?”

“But you are a mathematician, you are expected to be good at that stuff.”

“No, no, no. Shakuntala Devi is supposed to be good at that stuff. Not a mathematician.”

“But wasn’t she like India’s greatest female mathematician or something?”

“Oh, dear lord! Shakuntala Devi was not a mathematician. She was a human calculator. Mathematicians need not be good at calculating stuff. Calculations are not necessary for us, sometimes it is useful no doubt. But why do you think they invented the calclator?”

“Hmmm….anyways, I was never good at mathematics. I sucked in it.”

“That’s really good to know, gives me such joy and happiness you know when random strangers tell me they were horrible in mathematics.”

“But that’s the truth. I can safely say that I have never used any of the algebra or whatever shit they told me about in class, anytime in my adult life!”

“Really?”

“Yes!” (smiling)

“Okay, do you have kids?”

“Yes, three kids.”

“Do you bring them chocolates or pizzas?”

“Yes, once in a while.”

“Then, who divides the pieces for them?”

“Most of the time its me. What has that got to do with anything?”

“How do you divide one pizza in three parts for your kids?”

‘That’s easy man. Anyone with a school education can do it.”

“And does that remind you of your mathematics classes in school?”

“Aah, okay I see now where you are going. Okay, I agree I use fractions and stuff like that from time to time. But what do you do? Your theorems are useless to me.”

“And so are your poems to me! What is the benefit of writing them?”

“What are you saying? A good poem is a piece of art, it has no tangible value. You cannot measure its goodness on a scale. You mathematicians are crazy.”

“What if I told you that the pleasure you derive when you write a good poem is the same as the pleasure or maybe more that I derive when I prove a particularly nice and beautiful theorem.”

“Beautiful and mathematics? You must be joking right?”

“Why would I joke about my profession to you? You are a stranger whom I met in a wedding where I do not even recognise half the people.”

“Okay, maybe it gives you pleasure like writing gives me pleasure. But wouldn’t you say mathematics is largely useless for the rest of us? No one understands it anyways.”

“Do you understand Greek?”

“No, of course not.”

“Exactly, and probably 80% of the world population do not understand Greek. Does that make it useless?”

“But mathematics is different.”

“What is the first thing that you do when you wake up?”

“I check my phone for any messages.”

“And you think there is no mathematics involved in that?”

“Umm….why would there be?”

“Well, it would take a long time to explain it to you. But be assured that there is a hell lot of mathematics involved in everything you do in your day to day lives.”

“Okay, lets say I agree. But why should all of us be allowed to suffer it in school?”

“Hmm…that’s a good one. Lets see, I guess you also studied world geography when you were in school. Didn’t you?”

“Yes, I did. What’s the point?”

“Tell me, did you go to all those places that you studied?”

“No, I didn’t.”

“Then what was the point in studying that?”

“Okay, I see now where you are going with this. But still, it is incredibly difficult.”

“So is learning how to cook well. Or learning to speak Italian.”

“Maybe, I do not know to cook or Italian.”

“But you didn’t mention it to me when we were introduced, you just said you were horrible in mathematics.”

“You don’t brag about your bad culinary skills to strangers!”

“Exactly. That’s my point.”

“It was nice meeting you, please excuse me.”

“You are excused.”