|Saturday, August 18, 2001||
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.
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