Oh these problems

I do not know when I started detesting math (cos ‘hate’ is such a strong word). Perhaps seeds had been sown back in 12th itself, I was throwing up on the morning of my ISC Mathematics board exam. I’m sure integrals had a lot to do with it too. But the process was consummated after I met Engineering Mathematics.

I still remember getting out of my KEAM entrance hall to my Engineer Achan who was all eager to know how many questions I had attended.


“Engil pinne oru 1 hour kazhinju erangi kudayrno”

Oh these proud Malayali parents.
And because I attended 70ish, my entrance allotment was stuck at Civil and wouldn’t advance up to Computer Science. Which is when Karthik said, “My first option is Civil. Because I love maths. OBVIOUSLY”.

Obviously, I was taken aback. Obviously, I didn’t know people who took civil engineering loved math (actually they don’t). Because obviously I hated sums and thought civil had everything to do with drawing and buildings and some kind of sorcery (which only turned out to be more maths/design) and now that I think about it I really don’t know what I was thinking. *

I have waded through three and a half years of college without succumbing to it. It’s not like I suck at maths. I might even be good at it if I tried (ini ipo enthu venelum parayalo :P).

But I want you to know the whole Engineering mathematics thing is just an elaborate hoax meant to check the mental stability and resilience of students. When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. When life gives you Gaussian integrals and Mr. Fourier’s transforms? Do not fall for it. Fight it. Maim it. Kill it. But chances are, you’ll end up like how Ranbir did in Tamasha movie.

imageRanbir reacting to Fourier transforms *I KNOW THAT FEEL bro*

My mother claims to love maths though. “I can’t believe you’re my daughter, paru. I loved maths. Even now I wonder what all I missed”.

People who haven’t studied engineering shouldn’t be allowed to comment on the beauty of the subject. I’ve listened to my school teachers, Krishnan kutty sir, physics and chemistry sirs, even college professors and my parents mention the beauty of maths. I guess you need to be in a different headspace and a totally different mindset to see all that. Maybe learn higher order maths of a different degree *maths students, see what i did there*.

But it did seem pretty impressive when he gained a whole 24 hours in Around the World in Eighty Days. Or was that geography? And also when in Interstellar, they said, “To them, the past might be a canyon they can climb into and the future a mountain they can climb up”. Oh wait that sounds like Physics. OK never mind. See what they mean when they say, maths is omnipresent? It just creeps in uninvited everywhere. Maybe that’s just what foundation subjects do.

Up until now, if you asked me to choose between writing a 10 page essay or a 2 page problem, I’d choose the essay hands down. Here in civil maths, concentration and care and patience are everything. And even if we had all those virtuous qualities, some of us still wouldn’t be solving 6×6 matrices.

However, S8 is the worst. It’s almost like the ultimate test for all frauds (or maybe just simpletons) that have evaded problems their whole lives. The system no longer wants to lecture about rocks or cities or highways. They just ask you to calculate everything – the volume of concrete, the weight of steel and the area of reinforcement required. God, save me like you did all these years. 3 months to go!

PS: So if a boat weighing 150kN is travelling at 65km/hr and a boy weighing 30kg is about to dive from it, I already don’t care about the rest of the question alright? Please listen to your parents and stay on the goddamn boat, kid. Making others calculate your impinging velocity and shit isn’t very nice.

*- Civil is still the only (if-at-all) fun engineering subject, no doubt about it. More on that later 😀


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