Saturday,  August 18, 2001
M I N D  G A M E S

Come home to papa

THE school is over, but Ajju and Guddi do not want to return home because they know that papa is there and waiting for them. "Ajju, for the past three days, I have been thinking of visiting Ms Pathak because, as you know, she is sick," says Ajjuís little sister. "Stop making excuses. I know why you want to visit that old woman who is responsible for all our troubles." says Guddiís not so Ďbigí brother, "You are doing this to avoid papa, but I can tell you that Ms Pathak wonít help you even if she can. I hate her; I hate all mathematics teachers; I hate mathematics."

The little girl, at first, acts as if she is shocked to hear this, but recovers quickly to say, "Ajju, she brought you flowers when you were sick." "Yeah! She wanted me to get well so that she could make me sick again and I am indeed sick of her theorems and proofs; I want to be a sportsman and not a mathematician," says Ajju. "I can understand because even I want to become a singer and not a mathematician, but, if we have to finish school, weíll have to study some mathematics as well," says Guddi. "All right. Iíll visit Ms Pathak if you want, but let us first buy some flowers for her," says Ajju and a smile on her sisterís face is enough to cheer him up.


"Hello children, what a sweet surprise and these flowers are beautiful," says Ms Pathak when the children enter her room. "We came here to see you Ms Pathak; how are you?" says Guddi. "Oh! Iíll be fine soon, thank you, but I am afraid you havenít done well at all in your tests. I checked all the answer-sheets at home; have you received your scorecards?" "Yes," both are able to say only this much. "However, there is no need for you to be disheartened. I know you love mathematics and will improve in no time.""No, Ms Pathak, we donít love mathematics, rather Guddi wants to become a singer and I a sportsman," says Ajju, unable to contain his anger. Ms Pathak says, "Sportsmen and singers love Ďnumbersí, though of a different kind; what numbers do you like?" "None. I hate all," says Ajju, much to the horror of Ms Pathak. Guddi says, "Ms Pathak, what he means isÖ" "I know what he means," a visibly upset Ms Pathak interrupts her and says, "Well, itís rather late now, so I think you two should be leaving." "She is rude, too," says Ajju, on returning home.

19023^2 = 361874529

19377^2 = 375468129

19569^2 = 382945761

19629^2 = 385297641

Find at least 18 more such combinations. Write to the writer at:

The dreadful moment comes ó papa calls them and examines their report cards. "Hmm!" says papa and looks up," "Heís telling God to forgive him; heís going to kill us," Ajju whispers in his sisterís ear. The children nearly fall off the couch due to shock when papa says, "Forget all this, Iíll tell you something amusing and strange." He continues, "I realised today that there were certain numbers that, when squared, gave a nine-digit answer containing all digits from 1 to 9 only once. I found some of the following strange combinations: 11826^2 = 139854276; 12363^2 = 152843769; 12543^2 = 157326849 and 14676^2 = 215384976." "Let us find more of these, papa," says Ajju. The children consult the notes of Ms Pathak that they had never bothered to read before this and come up with some similar combinations: 15681^2 = 245893761; 15963^2 = 254817369 and 18072^2 = 326597184. At the end of a long session of "play", papa presents Ajju with a hockey stick and Guddi with a sitar. "Papa, who told you that I needed a sitar?" says an overjoyed Guddi. "She told me not to tell you, but I learnt this from Ms Pathak. She told me to tell you about these magic numbers and that I loved you," says papa. "We love you, too, papa," the kids say and hug their father. "Sheís nice, too," Guddi whispers in her brotherís ear.

ó Aditya Rishi