Monday, April 22, 2013

Counting sheep and everything else

I've always loved counting.
Simple arithmetic is fun!

If I couldn't sleep at night, I'd usually recite numbers in French.
But before I studied French, I would count.
Not sheep.
Just count.
One night I figured out how my birthday was exactly 77 days after my mother's birthday and 77 days before my grandmother's.
And I got amazing sleep that night.

Since I liked counting a lot and was fairly creative, I always pictured my brain to look somewhat like a Mondrian - organised, colour coded and resembling a calculator.

So clearly while growing up I was quite fascinated with Shakuntala Devi popularly known as the Human Computer. She was a super genius who could calculate anything.
I used to own a book by her that had her photo on the back and I thought she was the smartest lady ever.

She was the daughter of a circus performer. Her father was a trapeze artist, lion tamer and human cannonball. How scary but cool is that?
She had no formal education but her talent for number crunching was discovered by her father while she assisted him while he performed card tricks.
Her talent was so super human and so good at such a young age that it wasn't long before she was discovered by the rest of the world.

She was like a girl version on Little Man Tate.

In 2006, she wrote a book called In the Wonderland of Numbers about a girl called Neha who was terrorized by Maths. Neha meets with an accident and is transported to a magical place until she regains consciousness. The book talks about Neha's adventures in the magical Kingdom of Zero.
Clearly Shakuntala Devi was NOT talking about me.
I was no number hater.

I always wanted to meet Shakuntala Devi for some reason besides wanting to meet Oprah (so she'd praise me and shower me with gifts) and Leonardo DiCaprio (because he's so handsome) but that unfortunately never happened.

Shakuntala Devi passed away yesterday.
May she rest in peace.
And if she doesn't manage to get that amazing heavenly rest, well, she can always count some sheep.
And maybe even multiply, add and subtract them.

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