As a kid my grand uncle (shancha) used to keep telling me a story as to why he a got a zero in maths. Its a story I grew up hearing and a story, even today when I hear makes me laugh. So here is my attempt to tell that to all and to make all smile 🙂
My grand uncle scored a zero in maths. Of course because of that everyone scolded him, his principal beat him, his friends laughed at him but he was quite undeterred. The reason was that had he attempted the problems and then got a zero he would have had a reason to be ashamed. But the fact is he did not even attempt a single sum. Why did he not, is what this story is all about.
The first problem stated “Simplify the following”. Now why in God’s name should one simplify a complex thing and why? The logic was beyond him and hence he refused to attempt that sum.
The second problem was the following. An alcohol shop owner was mixing 1 gallon water with every 5 gallons of alcohol. Now if every gallon alcohol cost Rs 50 (I am talking 50 years back) and he sold it at Rs 70, how much profit would he make by selling 30 gallons of alcohol?
Now my grand uncle could not believe it. Firstly we discussing alcohol which is so tabboo and on a corrupt alcohol dealer? And to think that someone thought he was going to solve this problem and help that corrupt man? No way !! Thus he did not solve this problem
The third maths problem was this. Divide Rs 100 among 3 men and 2 women in such a way that every man gets 10 Rs more than every woman. Now this was too much for my grand uncle. Our constitution gives equal right to men and women and here his maths teacher wanted him to solve a problem which snatched that right and was so unconstitutional? How could he solve it and disregard what the constitution stood for? Hence he had to let go of solving this problem too.
The fourth problem was about a trader. The problem given to him was that a trader bought 500 metres of cloth at 20 Rs a metre. He was selling it at 25 Rs a metre. But cause his scale had an error, for every metre he was selling actually 20 cms less. So how much profit would he make for that 500 metre of cloth he sold? Now instead of reporting the matter to the police how could his maths teacher expect him to solve this problem and help such a corrupt man? And so, he refused to be party to such corrupt practices and did not even attempt to solve this problem either.
The final problem given in the exam was that a 10 feet long bamboo which was covered in oil, had bananas attached at the top. Now a monkey was trying to reach it to eat and every 10 minutes he was climbing one feet but dropping 20 metres owing to the oily bamboo. How long would the monkey take to finally reach and eat the bananas? Now even in those day and age my grand uncle was quite aware of the animal activist groups. Now he wondered should he actually solve this problem and help his maths teacher and monkey around with a monkey or should he go and inform the animal rights group that such inhumanity was being practiced against them. Of course he chose the latter and hence decided not to attempt this sum as well.
End result, he got a zero. Of course cause of that everyone scolded him, beat him up, ridiculed him but till date he is quite proud of his achievement. Of course cause of this he never really made it as big as his so called classmates who ignored all ethics and sided with criminals, cheats, animal torturers but till this date no one can make us smile the way shancha can.