# A note to my 20 year old self

Foreword: Events described are inspired from real life incidents.   Any shocking resemblance to fantasy is purely coincidental.

A note from my seven year old self to my 20 year old self,

I remember you learning the multiplication tables in 1st grade.  Mother, a math enthusiast, had imbued her love for counting and logical reasoning to you and sister.

I can still recall, with a smile, your futile attempts at making 60 divisions of a circle to represent each minute with an incompetent ruler.  You would curse and cry because each time you tried hard to get them to be equally spaced but to no avail. Now you might laugh and think it was trivial but back then everything captivated you.

How was a clock made? That question was enough to make you ‘tick’.

Was it Magic?

Despite attempting to memorize tables you would constantly forget what 9 times 6 was.  It never seemed to make any sense to you back then.  Instead of blurting out the answer, you would recall watching a certain episode of Dexter’s laboratory while mother was teaching tables of 9. To make matters worse you had an overachieving sister who was brilliant with multiplication tables.  To add a feather to her cap, she had secured 2nd place in fast math tables competition.

The grimmer side of the picture ( black and white) carried your struggle to grasp why 9 times 6 was 54 to begin with.

Remember outside 2nd grade classroom we had a macadamia tree.  All of us would spend our free time cracking open the hard outer shells with stones larger than our fists before devouring the nuts. As a child you were fascinated by symmetry even though you had no idea there was a word like that.  You loved anything that was equally spaced.  You would fight for equality because it seemed like the embodiment of impartiality to you.  What has happened to you now?  In all ‘fairness’ I thought you would become a judge but here you are, wasting time in Grad school wondering whether you want to join the herd of misdirected PhD cattle moving towards “greener pastures” of advanced learning.

Good luck with that!

Getting back to memory lane:

You took it upon yourself to ensure that amongst our friends, everyone received an equal number of nuts. (You were nuts back then but anything is better than what you have become right now).

You started grouping the nuts, keeping 6 friends (including yourself) in mind.  Based on how many you could crack open, you would split the nuts.  After repeating this for days it soon hit you that you were dividing and multiplying. Making 6 groups of 9 nuts each involved using 54 nuts.  Both multiplication and division were happening simultaneously. Finally everything started making sense.

Magic!

After grasping the tables you faced yet another difficulty.  How was 9 times 6 and 6 times 9 giving the same answer?  By using 54 nuts to begin with, you could get 9 groups of 6 nuts as well but it always left you shocked.   It was hard to wrap your head around this.

You got your answer one afternoon on a bright sunny day. (To be honest it could have been in the morning because you do not have the best memory but in the spirit of good story telling I shall choose a bright sunny afternoon).

While sitting on your balcony, you fixed your gaze upon a small section of a brick wall that separated our estate from the neighboring one.

That section of the wall looked like this:

With the power of imagination (which was at its peak thanks to Harry Potter and J. K. Rowling) you could overturn it by 90 degrees and instead of 4 columns with 8 bricks cemented one on top of the other, you got 8 columns with 4 bricks. Therefore the same segment of the wall was simultaneously  4 times 8 as well as 8 times 4.

Magic.

Only a seven year old can think like that.

I hope you  understand how little you have progressed from there on. We had hopes for you till you were 12 after which we lost you.  This is an attempt at reviving your seven year old self.

Yours with great concern,

Signing anonymously out of pure shame.

Note: The extremely incompetent writer, whose work has no structure or flow, welcomes any form of criticism ranging from mild mockery to heart-wrenching insults.

## 3 thoughts on “A note to my 20 year old self”

1. Thought provoking post yet again. We all have felt this way. All the potential one had as child slowly shred to pieces by growing up. Only you can write such a heart warming story about multiplication tables! 🙂

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2. PhD’s aren’t misdirected. They just wonder looking at what they are doing with their life.

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3. Interesting piece! I like… Man, doesn’t it make me nostalgic? Well… I have to admit that I too will be among the PhD cattle (in future).

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