Rajam sat down in her favourite chair to take her evening coffee. She loved this time of day. The cool breeze, the sunset, the birds returning to their nests, all these exuded a sense of calm after a hectic day.

Rajam had moved into this society recently. She had bought it with her savings after her retirement. She had been a principal at a reputed school. She was yet to make friends with other residents.

Just as she was enjoying her tea, she heard it again. A woman’s scolding voice mixed up with a child’s raising in argument. This had happened yesterday and the day before that too.

Rajam finished her coffee and went to investigate. The voices were coming from the flat in front of hers. A family with a small boy lived there. Rajam had made friends with Sneha few days ago. Sneha was a working mother of a 8 year old boy Dhruv. Sneha’s husband too seemed friendly. Dhruv was a delightful child. Rajam loved to talk to him. The door was open, she slowly peeped in.

Sneha was arguing with Dhruv. Both of them were too busy to notice Rajam.

“Er… Hello!” said Rajam.

The combatants stopped midway and looked at her.

“What happened?. Is there a problem?”

“Oh! Hello, Mrs. Rajam. Please come in. There is no problem. This is a daily routine for us at this time of the day! I try to teach him Maths and Science and he argues with me.”

“No! I don’t argue! I just ask questions. Amma can’t answer at all!”

“Well, yeah! These are formulas. You just have to take it as they are! There is no grand story behind them”

“I can’t remember them otherwise. It is too hard! I will not study”

Rajam looked at the red face of Dhruv and the frustrated one of Sneha. She took the matter up on her hands.

“Well! Do you know, Dhruv, I have a cake at home sitting all alone with no friends? Would like to come?”

As Dhruv nodded and happily skipped over to Rajam’s house, Rajam took the mathematics textbook from Sneha.

“Don’t worry, my dear. Let me try.”

“Thanks so much. His test covers the chapters of shapes and fractions”, said Sneha

“Wow, what a beautiful large cake” exclaimed Dhruv.

“Yes, Isn’t it beautiful? But before I can give it to you, you have to answer my questions”

“Ok!”

“What is the shape of the cake?”

“Round”

“Correct. And what is the shape of the box it is in?”

“Square”

“Now, count the number of corners and number of sides in the box”

“1…..2…..3….4.”

“How many corners and sides does the cake have?”

“What, aunty? Can’t you see? It has none!”

“Correct! So a circle has no sides and corners and a square has four. Wasn’t that easy?”

“Oh! yeah!”

“Let’s tuck in, Dhruv”

Rajam cut a piece of the cake and gave it to Dhruv. She took one herself.

“Look, Aunty. This piece has 3 sides!”

“Yes, Dhruv. Because of that, it is called triangle. Easy to remember, think of it as ‘three-angle'”

“Hmm.. That sounds easy now”

“Tell me Dhruv. If I did not cut the cake, how many pieces would there be?”

“None”

“No, no. There would be one whole cake. So there would be one piece”

“Oh! yes”

“Now, if I cut it in the middle?”

“2”

“If I took only one of the two pieces, how much would I have taken?”

“Not, fair you took away half of the cake!”

“Haha! That’s true. Let us try and write this. So there were 2 parts of the cake, so I write 2 here.” She wrote digit 2 on a paper. “Now I took 1 part of it”. Now she wrote digit 1 on top of the 2. Then she wrote a small line between them. “See Dhruv, there were 2 parts, that goes below the line and I took 1 part and that goes above the line. So what I have is half or 1/2.

“The number of parts is called the denominator, that goes below and the parts that you take from it is called numerator, that goes above.

“Let’s try again. Now let’s make 3 parts of the cake and you take 2 parts of it. How would you write it?”

“Well….. the number of parts is 3….. so below the line, I will write 3. I take 2 parts…. I will put that above the line…… So I get 2/3. Is that correct?”

“Absolutely! Claps for you!”

“So….. If I make 6 pieces of the cake and take 2 pieces, then I must write 2/6?”

“Yes” smiled Rajam.

“Well that looks easy to me! Will you teach me daily aunty?”

“I will dear, Dhruv” smiled Rajam.

“Will there be cake everyday?”

Rajam laughed out loud and hugged Dhruv.

Written as a part of the Festival of Words hosted by Write Tribe.

This is my take on the prompt for the day: “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and—snap!—the job’s a game!” – Mary Poppins

Very nice indeed!!

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Nice way of teaching . But it never happens with your own kids as we are not jobless that time …..😀

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Ha ha! Jokes aside, I did try that way for mine!

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well that seals it! Im definitely sending my son to you for a bit of math and fun

wonderful writing too! you are getting better and better with every blog

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😀. Thank you Shaini for liking!

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If only I had such a great math teacher I would not have been hating the subject. We need more teachers like rajam. A great post meena.

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Yes. Math can be fun with some teachers. Thanks anshu!

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Math teachers do not often realise what a big role they play in people’s lives. I mean, right from developing an interest in the subject in the first place to the career a kid chooses after college depends a lot on the teacher. I wish I had a teacher who’d make Math fun for us in school.

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I am so happy this story resonated with you. Yes science and maths do need teachers with insight and should be able to connect with kids

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Absolutely, Meena. I think we are in dearth of such teachers.

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Very nice indeed! 👏👏👏

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Thank you

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