Saturday, June 12, 2004


Iím on the top

Aditya Rishi

"HI, sorry Iím calling late." "Hey, whatís up?" "Clear night sky." "And whatís down?" "Sheer drop, like deep dark abyss." "Okay, tell me where are you?" "Hanging loose." "That means you are having fun out there. Am I right?" "Not really, I said I was hanging loose, from a building. Could you send someone to help me get to the ground?"

"How the hell did you get there?" "Itís a long story, but would you believe me if I said I flew right into it?" "No, of course not. I know you canít fly." "I have done a crash course in flying, please donít get me wrong." "Now I see; you were flying a plane and then you crashed; is that how it was?" "Not really, I had rather bailed out. I was coming down well when all of a sudden this building came out of nowhere and caught me by my parachute."

"So, did you enjoy it?" "Donít ask me. Iím right on top." "Hey, thatís great." "Oh yeah? You think so? Why donít you come and take my place then." "Iíd love to; if only I had known where to find you." "God knows where am I. All I can see is that itís a building with no windows or doors."

"Is the wall made of granite?" "Yeah, thatís right." "Whatís down below on your right?" "I see a huge trail of light, two columns of it." "Thatís probably the airstrip. Whatís down on your left then?" "Nothing. Just trees, trees and more trees." "Thatís the golf course. Oh my God!" "Hello, hello, hello. Are you there? Tell my which place is this?"

"Listen carefully, my friend. What Iím going to tell you might scare you, but I want you to understand one thing. Iíll come for you. Just hang in there." "What do you think Iím doing for the past one hour?"

"Be calm, I wonít let you down." "But I want you to let me down."

"What I mean is that I will bring you down." "Is that the way you think. Iím surprised. This is how you repay me." "Thatís the way I am; but seriously, Iím going to get the firemen. I know the man in charge. Mr Burns."

Later: "Hi, Iím glad you are back on the line. I thought you had hung up. I see a lot of men down there." "Thatís right. They are the firefighters who will rescue you. Iím with them and I see you. We have a problem." "Just how bad it is?" "Quite bad. You are perched on top of the Madhubala memorial... just think of her, she was drop dead gorgeous... anyway, this is an 80-metre bare stone wall and the hydraulic ladder can come up to only 40 m. Can you come down 40 metres."

"And how do you suppose I can do that?" "Do you have rope?" "Yeah, but itís only 30 m" "Thatís alright. The building has solid rings every 20 metres, which means youíll find one halfway down to which you can attach your rope. It should be easy after that, but remember, do not jump or fall because you might fall off the ladder then. Meanwhile, youíll have to excuse me; I have a column to write." "Come back, you..."

Assume that you are on top of this building and you have a 30-metre-long rope, and you may not jump or fall. The only way down is along the flat wall. You can cut and tie the rope as much as you like and disregard the length of the rope you spend on knots. Can you get yourself to the ground?

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