“Mathematics, Ego and Me”
It was a three-day workshop in some Motel in Faridabad. The fee was Three thousand eight hundred rupees which I painfully parted with, just for the sake of my friend.
There were multiple answers from the men from various fields.
My answer was 30 which was the highest number of squares anybody had quoted.
Mr. Apte came to me and asked if I was sure. My ego replied to him on my behalf, ‘Yes sir, pretty sure. Actually, I’m a Mathematics Teacher. It's a routine thing for me.’
He smiled smugly and looked at me, ‘And you understood that after three blows?’ I sheepishly gazed into his eyes feigning the shame.
He continued, ‘Each blow was fatal than the previous one; enough to knock me down if I had been in the way,’ he paused and smiled and looked on the amused audience, ‘actually Mr. Sharma, you had realized that right after the first hit. However, your ego forbade you to accept failure so early. It stopped you to concede defeat even though you knew it was impossible. You thought that I might not do it the second time.’
I wanted to run away from the hall. He had not finished, ‘And coming back to the count of squares, I can prove that there are more than thirty squares in it and Mr. Sharma, mind you, it’s not my routine job.’
Mr. Apte placed his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘Mr. Sharma, there will always be something more to learn. Remember improvement has no finishing line.’