Sab Theek Ho Jayega !

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Kochi / Ernakulam, Kerala, India
A Doctor who loves to Live, Love and Laugh with the World! Absolutely crazy about Cricket ! Other Qualifications: A Tired Bathroom Singer, Retired Gully Cricketer and Satire Writer !

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Why Cricket is Religion in the Land of Zero ?

 Why Cricket is Religion in the Land of Zero ? Or Why Cricket is Mathematics ?

Pre-Script: This is an original research article done on my Cricket blog. But since I realized this is more about numbers, Gods and Mathematics; this deserves to be on "Live, Love and Laugh". So I am re-posting it here with my own due permission !
Disclaimer: This is an original research article and hence might appear extremely long. Any perceived humor in any part of this article is unintended and is purely accidental like the 23.5 degree bend of Saeed Ajmal's elbow. If any part / parts of this piece appear disjointed like Suresh Raina's technique, that too is coincidental. The author holds all copyrights over the article. Any reproduction of any part of this post done any time in the past by anyone should be considered as pardonable acts of flattery.

While I was bothered by India missing out on an Asia Cup Final berth, most of India was busy celebrating Tendulkar’s 100th 100. So I was wondering, “Is there something wrong with me ? Why am I hurt so much when even the players don’t appear to be hurt by losing the Asia Cup crown they had held thus far ?”

A Soccer fan on Facebook who hates Cricket pestered me a lot the other day. He refused to recognize Cricket World Cup and believed Soccer fans are jovial and Cricket fans turn violent if someone derides Cricket. He used a lot of convoluted logic and then demanded that I must give up on Cricket because I happen to be a Doctor and because one of his teachers believed Cricket meant Crick [whatever that meant].

After banishing him to pavilion, oops oblivion; I sat down and thought; “Why is Cricket so popular in India ? And why do I love it so much ?”. Since I am a hardcore Indian, who has never ventured out of the borders, if I find an answer to why Indians love Cricket so much, we’ll know the answer to why I love it so much !

Here is what I have come to understand why the game is so humongous in India ! The reason is Cricket is a religion in India and we knew it long ago. We have the proof for that and will give a link at the end of this post.

We Indians found out ‘Zero’ and we hold on to the Zero with all the love, affection and even jingoism. We celebrate ‘Numbers’ and Mathematics. Just take a look at our festivals, “Nav Ratra or Dusshera”. They denote numbers. Just imagine the Australians referring to the Don as “99.94 Sir Don Bradman” ! That never happens. But we revere our Swamis with “108 Sri So and So Swami” and “1008 Sri So and So Swami” and so on.

I am often confused about our rituals ‘Sahasra Kumbhabhishekam’,Laksharchana’, “Shata-Koti Rama-naama Japa Utsav” and many such magnificent numbers. I don’t know if we are celebrating the Gods or the numbers. No wonder we are brought up with imposition like “Write this 500 times”.

When someone completes 84 years and 4 months, we celebrate "Sahasra Poorna Chandra Darshan" that indicates the person has witnessed 1000 full moons. That is apart from the small numbers like "Shasti poorti" or 60th birthday or "Sapthathi" or 70th birthday. We also celebrate western influenced Silver, Golden, Diamond and Platinum jubilees. We are a land of an over a billion number of people who love celebrating numbers and landmarks; more the merrier !

We have a Trinity of Gods and many Cricket fanatic Indians equate the 3 Stumps to the 3 Gods; Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. We have 33 Crore Gods and we adore a man with over 33,000 international runs as God. How we love our bloated numbers can be understood by taking a look at our ‘Puranas’. 

The creator Brahma had four heads. Vishnu had four hands and Shiva had a ‘Third eye’. Cricket maniacs would love to compare Shiva with ‘Third Umpire’ or the four hands of Vishnu with a ‘Boundary Hit’. A ‘Sixer’ will be equated to ‘Shanmukha’ the God with six faces who went around the world on a peacock, again the national bird of India.
Imagine what Ravan would have done as a Bowler !
Even our villains were no lesser. Ravan was supposed to have had 10 heads, though one always wonders how he managed symmetry and equilibrium with that rather odd looking even number of heads. If Ravan were to play Cricket, would he be considered as one player or ten different players ? Very tough question before the ICC. Thankfully I am not on the ICC and neither is Ravan playing Cricket today.

Cricket Sri Lanka would have done their best to prove that was a congenital deformity that he was born with 10 heads and 20 hands. Murali with just 2 hands was more than a handful for the batsmen. Imagine the confusion the batsman would have faced as to which hand was Ravan going to bowl. Just mind-boggling !

Well, I have digressed from numbers to Ravan. Let me come back to Cricket and the love for numbers. No other sport celebrates numbers like Cricket. We have half-century, century, double century, triple century, quadruple century and a fifty between each landmark. We have five-for as a matter of celebration for a bowler and then 10 wickets in a match. We have seen different kinds of celebrations by different batsmen on reaching the coveted mark. Why a century ? We even had a player do an impromptu dance on the pitch after hitting a six !
Every time Sachin Tendulkar steps on the ground, he is creating a new record. He will retire with the record of holding the most number of records in any sport. I think he already has crossed a century of them; the number of records he is holding.

Every moment in a Cricket match brings out numbers. Kids who play or watch Cricket regularly will be very sound in Mathematics. They will calculate the required run-rate after every over and will be full and thorough with their fractions. How a required rate of 6.15 RPO becomes 6.67 after a maiden over; only a Cricket kid can tell. No other kids can do the Maths in the mind like the Cricket kids. The economy rate, the RPO, the batting average, the bowling average and the strike rate; Cricket has numbers within numbers within numbers and then more numbers, records and then Sachin Tendulkar.

Most of the games and sporting events are over and done within minutes, hours or at worst a day. Mike Tyson had once finished a boxing bout even before people could settle down in their seats. Whereas a Cricket Test match lasts almost a third of an entire Olympic game or a Grand-slam Tennis tourney, 2 days longer than the Davis Cup Final and almost as long as a North Indian wedding discounting the first night. Cricket is nothing but pure and unadulterated Mathematics simplified and made enjoyable for all age groups !

Diving deeper into the matter of Maths, Cricket is played inside an Oval with a quadrilateral pitch in the middle with cylindrical stumps on both ends of the pitch. The ball is a perfect sphere, though it can change shapes when certain highly talented bowlers are in action. The bat and ball have specified weight and size guidelines. We have square cut and square drive which actually are played square of the wicket but somehow end up at point or third-man.

The good batsman is expected to play within the 'V' or the triangle. A bowler's wrist, elbow and the shoulder should have prescribed angles unless he is born with a deformity or has acquired one due to an accident. The concepts of 'line and length' can never be explained better in any other sport. Ajit Agarkar and Irfan Pathan will stand testimony to this. Ask Sehwag about the horizontal bat and Dravid about the straight bat. This simply is a limitless list.

Look at the fielding places. Silly point isn't silly at all; they place the best fielder there. We have slips from where things very rarely slip. Then there is square leg and squarish gully. Fine Third man from one side becomes long on from the other. Mid-wicket is actually far from the mid point of the wicket. Covers and extra-covers often uncover the best of Cricket.

An Indian's love for Cricket is nothing but an extension of the love for numbers and Mathematics. And people think we are crazy, lazy, unproductive and waste time. Far from it, we actually celebrate Mathematics which is the foundation of all that is Science. Those who don't know Cricket will never understand this. In fact, I strongly believe those who hate Cricket are actually bad in Mathematics. I vehemently recommend, we should teach Cricket to all our kids to drive the fear of Mathematics from their minds !

All original research articles tend to be quite long like this one had turned out to be. There already is a Prequel to this. Readers who haven't exhausted their patience or slept off or not lost consciousness are advised to revise their knowledge with the help of the exhaustive original research article.

We will come back with more details, once people are able to read, understand and digest this piece of wisdom !

Dr. Punned-it

Monday, March 26, 2012

Multiply from Left to Right: Eco-friendly Mathematics !

After assisting my daughter to "Love Maths" I have decided to indulge in Mathematics because that has always been a favorite subject. If this sharing helps people, that should be wonderful. I am mostly dealing with simple Mathematics here, because I believe in beginning from the foundation. If this endeavor proves to be useful, I shall dive deeper into this in future with a series of short articles.

Yesterday Piya was struggling with 'Pi' diagrams. I don't understand why the texts and the so called guides [I would call them misguides] make it so convoluted and so tough. A simple act of multiplication for a Class 6 or 7 or 8 student is made so complicated by the texts.

I have a problem with doing addition and multiplication from right to left. It is cumbersome, time consuming and downright unintelligent. Addition and Multiplication should be done left to right; just like we write and most of this world writes.

How do we go about it ? In reality, we don't even need a paper and pencil to do multiplication of two digit numbers and three digit numbers. Honestly, this isn't any new or revolutionary idea. It just is that most of our education simply doesn't encourage using the mind or the brain. 

Kids are encouraged and even forced to learn all things by heart. We used to call that 'mugging' in the Medical College. There can't be a better word to describe this system. We are 'mugging' the thinking ability of our kids. Let me explain how we go about it. 

For a beginning, let us take a multiplication of 137 X 25. 
Our books teach us to multiply 137 X 5
And then 137 X 2 and then add the second number one place to the left to get the answer. 
We have to begin by multiplying 7 X 5
And move with the product to left and add it to 3 X 5
And then move further left and add the next product to 1 X 5. 
Then we multiply 137 X 2 similarly and add the product one place to the left. 
Most of the kids get confused here.

Now let us do it from left to right. 
For this, we use the simple formula of,
A X B = [u + v + w] X B = [u X B + v X B + w X B]. 
Here [u + v + w = A]

Let us make it simpler. 137 = [100 + 30 + 7]. 
So what do we have ? 
[100 + 30 + 7] X 25.
Now look at the answer: 2500 + 750 + 175 = 3425. 

This splitting, multiplying and adding is all done in the mind once we develop the practice. 
Right to left Maths can never be done in the mind so easily.

If we teach our kids to learn multiplication tables with proper technique, Maths becomes a cakewalk. There is no point in mugging up tables. We have to help them to understand multiplication table is nothing but adding the same number as many times as the second number suggests. By doing away with papers, we can save a lot of trees too. Thus Mathematics becomes Eco-friendly !

Dr. Punned-it

Monday, March 19, 2012

Lost and Found: A Phone and a Puppy !

My friend Murali is right now enjoying a road trip of Badami, Aihole and Pattadakallu. He very often sneaks a holiday to Rajastan and then to Ladakh and then posts fantastic photos on Facebook; causing enormous heart burns.

We do go out on our own boys only annual sojourns. The process began in Kumarakom in 2005-06. Our last trip was to a fabulous sea-side resort at Kundapur where Murali, Vineeth, Jaganmohan, Chetan and Me became part of one unforgettable experience in terms of the quality of the time we spent together. Recollecting all that we did is material good enough for a serial. Here I will stick it to the "Lost and Found" story !
The Fabulous Five on the Fun-tastic Island !
The five of us began our journey from Murali's mansion in Moodabidre on 26 December 2011. By late noon we were at the resort after a lavish lunch, the highlight of which was the Chicken ghee roast for the carnivores and Paneer ghee roast for me.

Later in the evening, we were getting ready to go to the beach for the Sunset. Suddenly Cheti declared, "I have lost my phone and I don't know where I have left it !". Now here was a real problem. He had given this number to all his contacts even though he had another mobile.

The immediate call was to his service provider. They advised him to lodge a Police complaint about the lost phone. Lucky for us, there was a Police station just a few paces from our resort. So off he went with Murali to lodge the complaint. Completing some of the formalities and getting a photostat copy of the complaint after registering it took some of our time. The Sun refused to wait for us at the beach and he was on his way down when we started.

On our way to the beach, Cheti had a call and he was all excited as he shouted, "Oho, so you got it ? But where ? Yes ? Aha, Wonderful ! Where was it ? Oh, those rowdy boys ? Fantastic ! Now what will you do ? Get the big fellow from the hospital and go and bring it back. Okay, call me on THIS phone only. And now get going straightaway".

We were wondering, "How on earth did his cousin trace his phone in Kanakapura, which he had lost in Kundapur ?". Murali who was driving asked, "Hey goof, how did the phone go there ?". Cheti was too excited and shouted, "Not the phone yaar, it is the Puppy. We had a beautiful Pomeranian puppy. He had a black dot exactly at the center his forehead and he was with us for about 2 months and then was lost. We searched him all over the place and did everything. But there was no use. Now some neighborhood boys have seen him with another man, who claims to have bought it for Rs. 2000. I am ready to pay that amount because my son is so attached to the puppy. He didn't eat for two days when the puppy was lost".

There was more talking over the phone. Cheti ordered his man Friday to gather a few people and use threat if necessary to retrieve the puppy. He then got the number of the person who owned the puppy and requested him, "Please Sir, whatever you have paid, I shall pay you but I need the puppy because my boy is so fond of it. We can show you the photographs of him" and he gave the description of the puppy to the man on the other side.

In reality, the owner of the puppy was the one who was complaining because Cheti's boys had already retrieved the puppy and he was in safe custody of Cheti's hospital staff. Finally the deal was struck and Cheti was a relieved man. He said, "Oh my God. 3 weeks we have suffered like anything and finally the puppy is back and I can't describe how happy I am. And my boy will be celebrating"

We were happy too for our friend and his boy. And I said, "What a day for you Cheti, you lost a phone but got back a puppy. Not bad at all !". Chethi replied, "Not at all Boss. I can get back the phone number any day. The handset was old and dated but the puppy is precious. I am so relieved now".

And then Murali had a call from his wife. He talked to her for some time and then finally declared, "The phone you lost in Kundapur has been found by my wife in our home.". This was a double whammy. Only problem before us now was whether to take the Police complaint back or not. We unanimously decided against going back to the Police because that would have meant another hour of our time lost.

All puppy endings will have a twist in the tail. So I never told Murali that the Turkey towel supposedly left by Cheti or Vineeth in his guest room was actually mine !

PS: Almost 3 months since, this is the best I could remember from what happened that day. Guys, correct me where I am wrong !

Dr. Punned-it

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How my kid came to LOVE Maths !

My daughter is in the middle of her final examinations of class 8. She has a trait quite opposite to me. She just hates Maths while I have always loved Mathematics. I have my reasons o love Maths and I have never really managed to understand why a large number of kids hate it. May be there is something wrong in the way Mathematics is being taught.

I have tried to encourage her to develop the ability to do simple mental Maths with very little success in the past. She was in a relaxed mood this evening and I asked her, “Do you know the Algebra equation (a + b)2 ?”. 

She said, “Oh yeah. I don’t know why we have to learn that kind of nonsense. It is some a2 + b2 + 2ab. What is the use of our suffering all these a, b, c and x, y, z ?”

I asked her “Can you tell me the whole square of 55 ? And without using a pen and paper ?” Her face went down. I said, “It is 3025”. She countered me with, “But you have known that before…”

I said, “No, you give me any number and I can give you the whole square of that using the equation, (a + b)2 = a2 + 2ab + b2. You just need to listen to me and I bet you’ll enjoy it in the end”

So she came with a paper and and a pen I showed her how to derive the whole square of 59; step by step and then to do it in the mind.

Step-1: 59 is 50 + 9 (a + B)

Step-2: Applying the Equation, we have 502 = 2500 and 2a = 100 ready for all numbers from 50.

Step-3: So what do we have ? 2500 + 100b+ b2 [That means 2500 + Hundred times the second number + the square of second number]

Step-4: That is 2500 + 900 + 81 = 3481

Since we know the round figures of 50 square and small squares well, all four steps get condensed into just one step in our mind and we have the answer in double quick time compared to the cumbersome method of doing the multiplication of 59 X 59.

Similarly, for numbers below 50, we can apply the (a - b)2 = a2 – 2ab + b2 equation.

Thus 44 (50 – 6) square can be calculated in no time with 2500 – 600 + 36 = 1936

We can use this method to calculate whole square of big numbers by just remembering the round figures and then the 'dreaded equation' ! It isn't necessary to be an Abacus product to know Mathematics.

Once she came to terms with this, there was a BIG smile on her face and she asked me, “Why don’t they teach us these things at school ? I LOVE this Maths. Why don’t you take some Maths classes in our school, Appe ?" 
Maths: As easy as that !
It wasn’t any big deal teaching a class 8 student, something she already should be knowing. But for someone who was carrying the burden of not being able to break the mental barrier she had created around her, this was a BIG break through. I know I have managed to breach her fortress. My day was made !

Dr. Punned-it

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Interview: I can do any work !

16 years ago, I was still a fresher at my Hospital. Our Secretary used to summon me to the Board Room for his routine blood pressure checking and some sundry talk.

On one such occasion, a man in his early 30s came to see the Secretary. This was a stocky little stern looking man with a thick black beard and a mustache that was forcing itself into his mouth.

He was permitted inside because my presence there was just a casual one. Though I wanted to leave, the Secretary was in a good mood and he ordered me to stay put. I am happy he did that !

The man talked in a very humble tone with ultra-polite manner. All conversation took place in Konkani. But I have tried my best to present it in least corrupted translation. Let us call the man, Shashi for convenience.
"I can do any work..."
Shashi: Sir, I have no job and I am in real distress. Please be magnanimous to give me a job here. I can do any work within my limitations.

Secretary: Well, we will post you as ward-boy. You can have on the job training. You have to do the dressing, giving enema to patients and such jobs.

Shashi: I am sorry Sir, but I am from a respectable family. My family will never accept me doing such jobs. I can do anything other than that.

Secretary: Mmm, right. Then  you can push the wheel-chair and stretcher. You look strong enough for that.

Shashi: Sir, please forgive me. I have a back ache. So the Traditional Healer has advised me not to lift weights. Please think of any other job for me Sir.

Secretary: Oho, then we will post you in the records room. You just have to keep the files dusted and up to date. No need to lift or push.

Shashi: That would have been wonderful Sir. But I have a really worrisome allergy problem. Any dust and I get sneezing...

Our Secretary was a very generous man and went out of the way to help people. But he also was famous for his ferocious temper. I was expecting him to burst out into marching orders any time. But he seemed to be in a great mood and went on.

Secretary: So young and so many problems. What will happen to you when you are my age ? Anyway, we will post you in the lift. You just have to operate the lift during nights. You will have one week of night and one week of day duty.

Shashi: Forgive me Sir. But please try to understand, I have Diabetes and hence I can't play with my sleep. If I don't sleep well, my sugar will go out of control.

Secretary: Okay, you can then work in the Accounts Department. You can learn the job there. That should be fine with you and your sleep.

Shashi: Sir, you are really generous. But I have not cleared seventh standard and my Maths is very weak. I don't know if I can manage accounts.

Secretary: Well, that pretty much covers all the jobs in hospital. Well almost. I don't know where we can accommodate you !

Shashi: Sir, please Sir, I can do any other job. Please Sir...

Secretary: We have just two more posts for you here. One is that of Dr. Prabhu, our Medical Superintendent. The other is my own post, that of the Secretary. You can choose whichever you want. I have a meeting now and hence have to leave. Right now you go home, think over which post you want and come back when you decide on that !

I had never seen this wickedly humorous side of our Secretary before. Never saw that man Shashi again !

Dr. Punned-it