Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Whats your number?

Neha's Number Game has prompted me to write this piece. There she talks about how people are crazy for comment count, fans count and visitor count on twitter and blogs and facebook and such. I am not going to talk about these things, we know the obvious.But this post induced a thought process - NUMBERS.

How significant they are throughout our life span. Who invented them? They are so complex and confusing! A constant source of worry and nervousness from the time we come to this world.

From being a healthy 3.2 kg baby to gradually growing up in days, weeks and 12th month to celebrate the 1st birthday. Counting the 1st, 2nd and 3rd milk tooth while constantly monitoring the KGS and the INCHES.

Numbers and more numbers - Time of birth, date of birth play a vital role in deciding the child's future, compatible spouse and the career!! The years add up and the child grows, basking in the affection people shower and playing with toys; temporary relief from digits and numbers; though vaccinations and immunizations doses given at specific month and year.

Not before long, the child is put to school and his affair with numbers continue. But all affairs are not joyful isnt it? Starts his affair with 1 and goes till 9. So far so good. Then the child is taught the magical number of 0. His affair grows exponentially; hundreds, thousands, millions. The numbers are manipulated - add, subtract, multiply, divide, square, cubed.........not enough? His numbers are no more rounded off but they come with decimals.

The numbers dont confine only to his learning - his class room is numbered; he has a roll number, his question papers are numbered; his marks!! Aaah how could we forget that? The magic number of 35 - the number to obtain a PASS would no way be appreciated by his parents and teachers. Thats a BAD number. He has to aim for 90+....Still not bad.

Higher classes means more numbers. Rational number makes sense. But isnt it cruel to make sense out of irrational numbers? Cruel cruel world! How baffling it is when taught that "imaginary" number had a value! Integration did not mean "combining" anymore. Geometry and trigonometry rule the roost; where numbers and alphabets are related; there is 'e' and then there is 'pi'. These are constants but the child is clueless about its value being derived by describing a nonlinear curve! Whatever one  has to memorize their value up to its 15th decimal level.

College time - ruled by internals, marks and GPAs. More numbers during entrance exams - cut off; percentage and such. Numbers - ruling the life - sometimes praised; sometimes cursed. Numbers - sometimes embarrassing; sometimes elating. The real test after graduation; hunting for job. Numbers dont leave you there as well. Interview questions revolve around them - "1, 4, 27...what is the next number in the series?" or a puzzle - "How can you divide a round cake into 8 equal portions with 3 cuts?"

Numbers my dear! They eat up ones life; they are benchmark throughout - good, better, worse; efficient, productive, smart....They size you up! "Whats your number?" means how much of money you intend to see as your bank balance before retiring. Whats your CTC? Is your organization CMM level 5? Is it in top 10 of Forbes Best place to work?

Is the number done with? No! Get married by 30; have 2 kids, get a decent flat for 50 lakhs and a car for 10 lakhs; retire at 58. Work hard throughout towards your appraisal so that you get a rating 2 in a 5 point rating and get a 15% salary hike!

Numbers everywhere; numbers throughout. Deciding the course of life, stalking you for the rest of your life. would life be without these numbers? NULL!


  1. hmm, the number u said, it's everywhere! O'Brien hitting fastest century of the world cup today, Ireland chased down the highest total for the world cup, people recently realized the difference between tie and a draw - yet another number game there..% chase, rank race - numbers numbers :)

    thanks for the mention of my post :)

  2. Absolutely true! How numbers chase us all our lives and how we give numbers a good chase too!'s a tough life ;) Loved the covered almost every 'numbered' thing in life :)

  3. - Dolphins have one eye open when they sleep.
    - The average American eats two donuts a day.
    - A camel has three eyelids.
    - Rather than 13, four is the unlucky number in Japan.
    - The average clean shaven man shaves for five month in his life.
    - There was once a town in West Virginia called "6".
    - Seven people in known history have been hit by meteorites.
    - A tree in a metropolitan are will, on average, survive eight years.
    - It takes 9 pennies to weigh one ounce.
    - In Outer Mongolia there are ten times more animals than people.
    - Kermit the frog has eleven spikes on his collar.
    - The Hawaiian alphabet has 12 letters.
    - There are only 13 blimps in the world.
    - A baby has fallen out a 14 story window and survived, by falling on a man below.
    - The only 15 letter word that doesn't repeat a letter is "uncopyrightable".
    - Cats sleep at least 16 hours a day.
    - There are 17 different types of penguins.
    - On average Americans eat 18 acres of pizza per day.
    - On average business documents are copied 19 times.
    - A dog can smell 20 times better than people.
    - Blackjack is also called "Twenty-one". - 22 stars are shown in the Paramount logo.
    - Isaac Newton was only 23 years old when he discovered the law of gravity.
    - If Wal-Mart were a country, it would be the 24th most productive country.
    - Heinz ketchup leaves the bottle at 25 miles per hour !!

    And there is more where it came from !!

  4. You covered a broader topic though, Neha's point was specific to blogging/FB.

    I agree with you. Numbers numbers everywhere ...we are slaves of number.

    Home phone, cell phone, Tax number...when is my number to d....

  5. numbers they have become part of human race like oxygen and water.
    number number voting count number

  6. And...Mera number kab aayega?!!! :D

  7. Numbers makes vague precise. They are essential in quantifying as well as qualifying. they are good, but too much of them spoils the fun :-)

  8. It is amongst the better posts i have read.
    Numbers and or combinations of numbers have and do play an important role in one's life.It is my personal experience and belief.

  9. Numbers may also denote the years we end up wasting to retire.

  10. Very wonderfully expressed!! And this is your comment no. 10 for this post! :D

  11. @ Shilpa, may i say that I was firstttttttttttt and 11th too? :P

    ah, the numbers again!! :D

  12. There are 3 kinds of who know their numbers and others who dont....

    Now you know that I am a dud with numbers...
    Yes, we are numberholics...

  13. well, Beware... I am 13th.


  14. Enough with the numbers already:) But then again, what would we do without them?
    Numbers chase us, and we chase numbers too. It's a crazy circle, isn't it?

  15. Can't imagine life without numbers but isn't it strange that something intangible, so abstract, and which doesn't even exist controls our life throughout. I can imagine 2 books, 2 people, 2 words but the very 2 itself is a mystery to me.

  16. I will take weight and age to be on my concern list ;))!

  17. I think our philosophy is pretty much well articulated ! We are the folks that gave '0' to the world !

    Well, now, is '0' a number ! :)

  18. ohh the crunching number game ... these days the only number that matters is the number of zeros in my salary :P

  19. My goodness, you have made a huge list. Appreciate you.

    Now we hear more about number games-scams.

  20. Chasing numbers is what we do now a days

  21. Neha,

    Yup! We have to live with it. :)

    Destiny's child,

    Its mutual :-D


    Phew!! I didnt know many in this list. Awesome compilation. Thanks for sharing


    We are getting UID as well :-D




    Kisliye? :-P


    Yeah they give meaning to so many hypothetical stuffs :)

    Chowla sir,

    Thank you; glad you liked it.
    Yes numbers are important for our existence :)


    Hahaha you are already thinking about retirement. you just started :-P


    Thank you. :-)


    You are evil :)


    Yeah not knowing numbers is fatal :)


    I dont believe in superstition :)


    Aayega jaldi :)


    Yes exactly my thoughts :)


    Hahaha leave them alone and you will be fine :)


    0 is the root cause of all :-P


    hehehe number of 0s after a non zero digit :-P


    Thank you. Yeah numbers everywhere


    Yes our life revolves around it


    Thanks, glad you liked it :)

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  23. Life would've been less complicated without numbers I guess.. and nice post.. quite a thought provoking one.. though numbers played soo many roles in my life... never gave it a thought :)

  24. Meety,

    Yes, numbers give so much of meaning to our life. Without it I cant even wonder!

  25. Life is maths. And we are afraid of it.

  26. Hit Wicked,

    I am scared of Math!


I'd love to know what you thought :-) Please shoot!