Which polygon is not a quadrilateral among the below? Answers had four choices – a) a triangle [I immediately recognised]; b) a square that was tilted to the left and so I stared at it a bit; c) a box that looked more like a honeycomb; d) another one that looked like two umbrella canopies facing one another.
I shifted the book to the other hand a third time pretending to better study the shapes, when I heard. “I told you, you cannot understand such things,” said my daughter rather miffed.
That statement challenged my dignity.
In that fraction of a second I even cursed myself for having volunteered to explain one of her math exercises. Wanted to play a responsible mother. That innocent a thought it was!
“What makes you say so? Of course, I know,” I said and adopted my escape strategy. “Let me see if you understood the concept.”
“Very clever, mamu.”
Children will not only see through you but can also feel your insides out! Wonder if this is newage ‘bonding’. Because in our days we never bonded like this with our parents.
Luckily I received a call and she grabbed the book back. Or did I hand it over?
I realised how far away I’ve come from the world of academics. I remember mugging up math theorems. I considered it a bane in high school and kicked it out at the first given opportunity.
Grabbed science and couldn’t hold a balance upright straight and struggled with the doppler effects of physics for two years before hanging it up, too.
Embraced chemistry-botany-zoology combo only to realise I couldn’t make sense of why monoxides should not have their molecules accompanying them in numericals; neither could I differentiate between a nerve and blood vessel inside a frog; and trying to remember botanical names of simple flowers was nerve-wrecking to say the least.
The only practical class I enjoyed and remember to date is preparing methyl acetate – because it is nail polish remover and I used it effectively then.
That evening as I sat nursing my bruised ego, I realised there was a moral to take from my wasted academic years – Do not learn things that you cannot put to practical use.
I ran my new awareness past my family [it was more an attempt to light-hearten the embarrassment of the situation] and quick came the reply: “You should study all subjects in school. Only then you will know what you are interested in.”
Father patted daughter. I sat staring at the ceiling (as is happening more frequently of late).
“You know why she is getting philosophical? Because she doesn’t know the answer to one math question.”
If only I could call her observation a wisecrack!