Mathematics and I always got along well.
And then I turned sixteen.
When I was fifteen, Mathematics and I were inseparable.
I remember crying myself to sleep the day after my Mathematics board exam because I did not see a two mark question and hence did not attempt it.
I ended up getting a 98 on 100 – the two marks being lost on the question I did not attempt thanks to my impaired vision.
And then I changed.
I think hormones had a role – but I am not sure.
Mathematics and I started having horrible fights.
I just couldn’t give Mathematics the attention it was seeking.
We became bitter enemies.
I hated Mathematics and Mathematics hated me.
My twelfth Mathematics board exam was a nightmare.
And thanks to my score in Mathematics my otherwise brilliant score became not so brilliant after all.
I chose Medicine because I thought this would be goodbye to Mathematics – forever.
Apparently I was very wrong.
I have statistics this year in Community medicine.
I thought it would be plain old ‘find the arithmetic mean’ and simple addition and subtraction.
Today I realised my enemy is back.
And it is more monstrous than ever.
But I also realised there are people much worse than me.
My unit mates are among the brightest in the class.
But it seems they are not exactly the brightest bulbs when Mathematics came into the picture.
I am not the only one with Mathematics as a bitter enemy.
3x3 became 6
3+3 became 3
3+2 became 6
9x0 became 9
1/15 + 1/70 became 1/85
One of my friends ‘forgot’ how to divide
Another does not know how to use tally marks
– His six in tally looked like ‘IIIIII’
Half of them do not know what log is – forget using a log book.
The other half does not know how to use a scientific calculator.
The summation symbol looked like an E gone wrong to many.
And at the end of the class one of my ‘brighter’ unit mates asked the professor how many marks statistics accounts for in the final exams.
We are learning to become doctors.
One week ago we were made to re decorate the museum.
I wondered if we were taking an interior decoration course.
Now we are being made to solve mathematical problems.
I honestly do not know what to wonder.
We chose this stream because we were good at science and terrible at Mathematics.
We really suck at it.
As Po (Kung Fu Panda) would say we really 'suck in the history of sucking' – as far as Mathematics is concerned.
It takes me about five seconds to figure out change at groceries and auto-rickshaws (and sometimes I am right).
I can roughly calculate and check whether I will pass or fail after an exam.
I can count in 6 languages (till 10 at least)
I can convert numbers from the Indian (lakhs) system to the Western (millions) system.
I can remember dosages for medicines.
But that is about all I want with numbers in my life.
For the future generation – Dear children, do not commit the mistake my peers and I have already committed. Maintain your peace with Mathematics because no matter where you go, what you do – it will find you!!!