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Arifa Khan

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Member Since: Apr, 2009

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by Arifa Khan
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
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A girl that loved mathematics

Dolls, dresses and dancing shoes
Marigolds, merry go-arounds and chasing the goose
Bumble bees, butterflies and colorful beads
You would reckon these a little girl's needs

Would you ever think of that animal Algebra
Neither algae nor the four footed zebra
But, puzzling equations with pesky variables
Which sounded like X, Y, Z, but acted like alien imbeciles

Would you ever think of that nymph geometry
The weird science of random curves and lines
Arc is to circle, as line is to square or triangle?
parabola and ellipse, how do you draw a tangent at right angle?

With its endless theorems, comes trigonometry then
A new set of amusing fellows Sin, Cos and Tan
Hiding in each ratio expressed by two lines separated by an angle
The obtuse, acute and the hypotenuse forming a love triangle!

You wonder how the lines, angles and equations
Came to replace her fondness for berries and bluebells
How she came to replace with the accurate, the approximate subjects..
But, that's a theme for another verse

It all began as just one more contradiction
In the little girl's story, weirder than fiction
Threshed from one shore to the other by vicissitude,
One moment at a trough, and the very next at high altitude

The girl with her ways truant

Got away with impunity in every other subject

But, not so with math, where each thing's gotta be precise and perfect

Humbled, and challenged, she set out to get together her act

Of mathematics, here is the beauty

You can either love it, or hate it but seldom can you ignore it!

A solution is cent percent right or cent percent wrong

There ain't no Buddhist middle path nor such a thing as partial mark

Which makes things darn simple

Because only once must you learn a concept

Then you either don't, or just know with the precision of a surgeon to solve an intriguing problem,

There's no scope for idlers who like to drag on topics at length or dawdle

The girl's pride came crushing down one day with a thud
When she learnt she had flunked the math test
What was she to do, what was she to do in the circumstance?
Everything had been so easy till this event of chance

She decided to set her heart to mathematics
And Lo, like a pendulum, she swung from nincompoop to numerical gimmicks
Why, even her math teacher was jealous of her pride
As she declared, she could miss that special class and still call math her gift

And when she scored her first hundred
She fell in love with the subject hook line and sinker
When many a friend despised, ducked, cringed and floundered
Lo, here was a passion on which she could endlessly linger

It dawned ever so slowly on her how much she loved its mastery
As a teacher was caught unawares at her unexpected speed
So adept at a shortcut to reel out the answer before the problem was told
No she wasn't born gifted, but just believed in unraveling mind's mystery

All passions serve you well, when you least expect!
For the mighty JEE entrance exam, math was her best bet
Friction, pulleys and loads on the beam in Physics went way over her head
But, not so math, at her hour of need the only reliable, loyal, crafty friend

You gotta be a mathematician to know the allure of one followed by a zero and zero
To know the thrill of a sharp insight, and to shine in everyone's eyes a true Hero
To sleep with a challenge thrown by friends, and dream up a solution that brings smoke out of their rear ends
To be free of subjectivity of all other subjects, and the audacity to fight a mighty opponent on sheer mathematical concepts

Oh the pleasure of each new concept, was like a young lad chasing each day a new skirt!
A Binomial coefficient to calculate the probability on a sunny day of you meeting your soul mate
A permutation to know the ways you can arrange roses for her in a pretty bouquet
A conjoint probability to know she would say yes to a date, after receiving the bouquet and seeing in your hand a movie ticket!!


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