When I was at school,  most of the time I could be found  grappling with mathematical conundrums. It never ceased to amaze me that an alphabet called “x” could actually have infinite numerical values. Um, so why do you have alphabets and numbers separately, and then one fine day decide to mix it up?. Looks to me like a badly scripted reality show. Anyway, I was pained more when I reached middle school. Suddenly trigonometric values existed and whole tables have to be mugged up. Now I wonder why I wasted so much time on calculating such mundane stuff. I mean, I am working for the past 2 years and not once have my superiors stormed to my table, dragged me out, pointed at the sky and ordered “Find the distance between our offices and the  Air India plane that is flying at an inclination of 30° over there, NOW”.

On third thoughts, I can forgive the people who introduced trigonometry. But I will never forgive the person who introduced logarithms to the math syllabus. I can boldly say that most of my eyesight was ruined by peering into the  log tables that were printed on cheap, translucent paper and picking up wrong log values. I earned zeroes and disgusted stares from my teachers for not knowing log (3.5) is 0.544068044 and not 0.544068043.99.  I never did master log, in the same way I never caught (most probably never will catch)  the attention of husband material (not that I did catch the attention of non-husband material. My score in the Men’s section is unfortunately is the same as my Logarithms test score.)

And then there were other high-school disasters like geometry, analytical geometry, differential calculus (= nightmare) and integral calculus (J-horror nightmare). I somehow managed to scrape through math tests and pass school. But now, as I look back,  I wonder if it all was worth the tears of my parents and  frustration of teachers. The banality of all it. Why isn’t our syllabus more attuned to concepts we can apply in real life. Take mensuration, for example. Highly useful, especially if you are eyeing your neighbor’s land and want to usurp it. Helps you calculate areas and stuff. Or for that matter, simple arithmetic. Helps a lot. But calculus? It is as useful to my life as analytical geometry is for boiling water. I don’t have a problem if there are some students who would want to learn about calculus. But it is high time “educators” realize there are some rare gems like me who do not simply care if (d/dx) (a u) = a du/dx (I copied it from Wikipedia by the way) and should be given alternative choices to study stuff at school. Like surfing or deep-sea diving.

After all, the world is going to end in 2012. And what good does it do to be cooped up in classrooms and pore over log tables? No good.


13 thoughts on “Math(arrggh!)matics

  1. I can empathise with your pain, Dee!

    Come to think of it, we hardly use any physics, chemistry or biology in daily mundanities of life. And so do we seldom call on the services of history or geography. Twitter and Facebook have done a fabulous job of helping us unlearn whatever little English was taught at schools. Moreover, they also killed the enemy called essay writing (1000 words…5000 words…10000 words ugh!), by imposing a word limit.

    It seems very few things that are taught at schools are ever useful in future life, for most people, anyway. Ergo…education is a grand waste of time. 🙂

    The world’s going to end in about a year anyway. Might as well stay out of classrooms, not lug a bag weighing a tonne, and enjoy the time till expiry.

    • So true. We ain’t need no education! Imagine all the marks we lost for spelling errors at at school exams and now the people who spell right are laughed at as “bein unkewl”

  2. i felt the same way at school. and even after completing…
    what was that garbage that we were forced to learn
    all those mind boggling homeworks …
    all those formulas that made no sense to me
    i almost failed maths in 9th grade … LOL

    • Well it was the other way round for me! I had to persuade my math teachers, assuring them that nothing was wrong with their teaching and that I was the one at fault. Pretty major counselling sessions happened, that I can reveal 😀

  3. Good one… Even though I love mathematics, I enjoyed/empathize the other angle 🙂
    Loved your statement – It never ceased to amaze me that an alphabet called “x” could actually have infinite numerical values. it is true for even a, b & y 🙂

    Keep going…

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