Jan 19, 2006

Numbing numbers

This is a totally personal post (TPP, as I would call during future references).

Ever since I was a child, I had more than enough share of 'vendaikkai' (bindi or Okra) by my mom, saying it is good for my brain, esp. 'Kanakku nallaa varum'. I dont know due to which effect, I started loving maths from childhood.. Soon, numbers started occupying certain 'fixed places' in my memory and I could memorize upto 16x16 tables before my class 5. The numbers from 1 to 1K (upto 1024) are, to me, not just numbers but the members of a well-defined matrix. That helped me a lot whenever quick maths was required.. no need for calculators..

Some are my favorite, and to top all, 6. So many numbers that I got would invariably add up to give 6. Like Tendulkar, 'ten' became another favorite of mine, thanks to my nick name 'Padhu' or 'Pathu'. 10+6=16, which is my D.O.B. A few years ago, when I used to travel by auto in Bangalore, I would keep manipulating the passing-by vehicle numbers to try to get 6 out of them. Just to break the monotonous travel through familiar roads, u see..

Recently, whenever I do any 'routine' stuff, I parallel-process to get some arithmatic going. My favorite (memorable) numbers of late are 6,10,16,23,36, 43, 53,54, etc. each of them has a sweet memory associated with it (e.g., my hostel room numbers, '43'=Love you', etc.). When I wash the dishes, I would look at the quantity of the dishes and the watch and decide that 'OK.. I am going to wash them till this much minutes'. When I wash rice for cooking, I would start counting my 'squeezing rice' the sum of the hour and minutes.

In gym, I would burn 'one of my favorite numbers' of calories before switching to another machine.. While small-distance driving, I would look at the clock and decide, before this minute, I would be at this intersection/road.. During long-distane driving, it is reaching certain miles within certain minutes..

I never overly put any pressure on myself doing such things.. these all are done to convert the boring things into something new each time.. It has found to help me do such things more easily than before.. If any of you have any such 'time-pass' techniques, plz shoot..


Paurna said...

interesting post raju,but one thing caught my eye

"In gym, I would burn 'one of my favorite numbers' of calories before switching to another machine."

well i dont go to a gym.but i have treadmill at my house.and whenever i exercise i do the same thing as u(burn calories such that the number add up to 5 like 77,112,149.and i thought i was the only one doing such weird things this and now i read ur post........

TamilPonnu said...

I like 5's and 0's.. for example if I have to start cooking and the clock says 6:03- I wait till 6:05 to start

வேதா said...

hi raju,
thats quite interesting, reading this i
now notice that i do things related to even numbers, when buying some thing i
see to it the total adds to an even number, like that, i think its bcos odd nos are something odd to us. but my fav no is 5.

Me too said...

One of my friend too has this habit of adding up numbers in passing by vehicle's number plates!
In my younger days, I used to favour even numbers to odd!!

visithra said...

i have the habit of adding up number plates but just to get an even number or jumbling up them to look pretty say like 8888 and used to count cars from a certain model! wow i thought i was the only one ;))

Yours Truly said...

So am not the only one to have fun with number plates of vehicles, is it? Off late am somehow fascinated with the last 5 digits of a mobile no. Say if it is 03275, I associate the person with 3rd February 1975/permutations of that order and try to figure out if it would be some significant date for him/her and get it clarified too!!

NaiKutti said...

good post raju... i used to do many of those but wondering if i still do... probably not!... but number plates fascinated me :-)

Nag said...

yeah u were telling me abt this habbit before also. But i believe most of us do something like this knowingly or unknowingly

ram said...

It's interesting to know about this. I too had playing with prime numbers when I was studying 10th standard. I will do certain things until the closest prime number. Sometimes square, sometimes cube. All this made me to search for something about numbers. I came to know about perfect number is the one, sum of its own divisors will give the same number.
Eg: 1+2+3 = 6 (six is a perfect number).
Excessive time has been spent to know more about these kind of numbers. Quite interesting post. Thanks.

Raju said...

Vis, that is interesting.. I used to count 'imported vs Indian' cars while waiting somewhere outside.. You may not know about it, but there was a piece called 'Pozhudhu pogaatha Bommu' in Kumudam long ago.. got such weird habits from him.. :-)
yours truly, nope.. you are not certainly the only one.. as u can see from the different comments here.. :-) I started picking up such 'number playing' after my class 10 and I was very worried that I am the only person and doing such things would affect my studies, since my mind gets engaged in something other than studying, even when studying.. Realized soon that I am not the only one..

Last 5 digits of mobile.. interesting.. well, I dont have anyone choosing the number like that.. usually people prefer simple numbers that are easy to remember..
Karthik, better if you dont do such things.. bcos some of them can be really addictive..
Nag, knowingly vs unknowingly.. I donno which would be better..
Ram, yeah.. excessive time indeed.. but if you talk to any mathematician, you can know a lot more on the 'number theory'.. Indha numbers-ai katti mekkiradhu perumpaadu... :)

Anurama said...

I have a special love for numbers which add to 5 or 6. Whichever work I do, I set a time based on these numbers. n similar to ur number plate, I check bus numbers, office cubicle numbers, storage numbers, etc. :)

Raju said...

Anu, that is interesting.. 5 or 6 means more options.. :-)

aruna said...

I always use this technique in favour of my laziness, particularly while in school. I decide I will start studying from say 4pm, while its only 3.32now and next time I see the watch its already 4.07pm, So i decide to wait until 4.30 and the story goes on..

Raju said...

Aruna, LOL.. that is terrific.. I do that too.. I come in to work and decide that till 9 AM I would be blogging/browsing.. time goes past 9 and I blog/browse till 9:30.. we are on the same boat.. :-)

kuttichuvaru said...

well, I got company.... i too used to do these things on vehicle number plates..... even on fone numbers.... i feel tat this fascination for numbers has eventually led me to remember numbers well... i remember most phone numbers pretty well.... which actually helps my frenz a lot than myself, anyone needs a fone number, they contact me :)

Raju said...

Kay Gee, with the invent of mobiles, the necessity to memorize the phone numbers has dramatically gone down, esp. for me.. I used to remember the phone numbers better earlier.. I try to make a trend/sense of the important phone number and that helps me to remember it well..

Vijay said...

Mine is too weird. I count numbers and i will not stop until i reach 11. i count colours ( on the dress or the car etc.,) and that too should be 11(colours). I count the numbers on the number plates and the letters too( tn). some times i try to convert it in tamil to reach 11. it drives me nuts and i am tired of it.