கணக்கு வாத்தியாரும் கண்மூடித்தனமான காதலும்…

Disclaimer : Any resemblance to this twitlonger — twitlonger.com/show/n_1sp4l6h is intentional. (வேணுமானா, முடிஞ்சா, ஒரு க்ளான்ஸ் விட்டுட்டு வாங்க)

First of all let me say that one must be privileged to attend an Alwar sir math lecture. It is a privilege to watch one of the world’s greatest math class perform and to see the man (whose notes I have read and re-read in my correspondence course) in flesh and blood. That said — all the so-called reviews, ‘he could have solved more complex problems, I got my money’s worth with this one theorem’, etc annoy the hell out of me. I mean no matter how much you spent on this — its not going to be enough.

I was in fact super privileged (எனக்கு ஐஜியத்தெரியும்) to get passes to see the folks practicing. Which is to watch the group solve those God-awful problems with just about 60 people in a 8,000 people auditorium. Initially Alwar sir hadn’t come but the whole group was there including the front benchers. They solved each problem individually to check if the answer was coming using all different methods. That itself was amazing. The algebra section particularly solved a quadratic equation of a Alwar sir which I couldn’t remember (shame on me). I got up close and personal with his Calculator (pl note the capital C), touched its non-existent feet and felt extra special about it. I mean this is where all those solutions — which has given me so much to me in life were born.

Suddenly they all got silent and I knew who was coming. The man looked dapper in crew neck tee/pant and a blazer, walked slowly and picked up a chair (thankfully didn’t throw it anywhere) in the first row. He looked at me for a second I bent down and greeted him and he acknowledged with a nod of his head. My day/month/year/life made (what about second/minute/hour is a question you should not ask).

WomanP, Vanthin, Notehelios and all the solvers rushed towards him to touch his feet. And he got to work right away. Called Kanavan(not kaNavan, ok) to discuss what problems to practice and to later solve and started double checking the notes. Then he got on to the stage to start the practice. They were there for about 3 hours and the only person who worked non-stop was Him (again please note the capital H).

The first problem they picked was (a+b)*(a-b). What a fantastic choice. The ‘a’s and ‘b’s (not BS, ok?) are still ringing in my ears. The backup solvers missed a few calculations and Alwar Sir promptly stopped them and taught them by speaking the addition signs and the subtraction signs. They all picked up exceedingly well and the 2nd practice was okayed.

It was Notehelio’s turn to practice next and before she started Alwar Sir trolled her by asking us to give her a round of applause for taking medicines / drinking வல்லாரைக் கீரை சூப் to enable her to remember her theorems and solve the problems on that stage. They did Pythagoras theorem with the Geometry duo having a ball. So much joy this problem is. But somehow didn’t make it to the actual lecture list. They practiced a few more solutions and left. I was already overwhelmed with what just happened right in front of my eyes. And the main picture was yet to start.

Evening reached around 6:45 ( quite early for summer and I wonder when I reached), after wading through all the traffic — 6000 people in as many cars (of course). Sat right in front of that calculator (no capital C this time but what can be capital after the H) (again ஐஜியத்தெரியும்) was observing the interns and the solvers. Single guy (science) sitting next to me casually mentioned that this is his 4th class and he is attending all 7. They showed a video intro of Alwar Sir in which they conveniently slotted (that means they are not factual, or are they?) Euclid’s Proof and Fermat’s little theorem as his 800th and 900th proofs.

Alwar Sir was yet to come. Later I learnt Alwar Sir got stuck in traffic and had to be brought to the auditorium escorted by a ecouple of cop cars. It was 7:40 when the man made an appearance. He put his towel in a chair nearby and started one, two, three, four.. The crowd, everyone was on their feet went crazy (of course). He didn’t seem disturbed. I was in a state of euphoria and couldn’t believe what was happening. Eyes welled up almost immediately. That old/cracky yet the most affecting of voices teaching just for me (others didn’t matter at this point).

Anyway I will stop rambling (hey, at least give marks for honesty) and just give a one liner about all the songs performed.

  1. Pythagorean Theorem — McDowell had a rare miss, Alwar Sir was quick to turn around and stare at him. (Solution wrong)
  2. Funda’mental’ theorem in Algebra — Vanthin had the 3rd loudest reception of the evening. Vanthin has always been good in live classes. Star of this song was Beauty. Switching between (so, just two instruments, remember between vs amongst) digital calculators and using them with adequate finesse. (Solution Right)
  3. The area of a circle — WomanP had a very very shaky start — went obviously off the graph. After the song ended Alwar Sir had WomanP salve (i can do typo too) the theorem again McDowell mishandled the protractor in the repeat — Alwar Sir stopped and asked ஏன்? He — அடுத்த தியரத்துக்கு calculations மாத்திட்டேன். WomanP sang better this time so he let him go with just the first part of the solution. (Solution Wrong)
  4. Ramsey’s Theorem — Notehelios got the second biggest reception of the night. She was fighting a cold but did well. Stars were the interns (calculators / graph paper / chalk piece). Alwar Sir had her solve the intermediate steps again just with chalk piece (Solution Wrong)
  5. 5. Prime Number Theorem — Masala. Enough said. Alwar Sir made them solve the 1st intermediate one more time (Solution OK) (Am tired of this stuff, will just say if solution was ok or not for the rest, for details ping me)
  6. Average solution. Missing steps. (Solution Wrong)
  7. One of the best that night. Graphs especially. (Solution Correct)
  8. Solution was good but steps were all over the place. (Not completely right)
  9. Good solution
  10. GiveNail was superb in this. Bettering Ramanujam in such theorems ain’t that hard anyway. The crowd went wild. Vanthin missed they lyrics the first time, so Alwar Sir had them repeat the 2nd iteration another time. The more the better for this theorem. Superb choice. (Since solution was not right we had to redo it many times but what fun)
  11. Perhaps the weakest of this class. Alwar Sir had them state the problem again since the graph section missed a few notes. He had an anecdote to share about Einstein / Bhaba / Wheeler) and ordered them to better get this problem right. NoteFace couldn’t handle the long equations. It was painful to listen to her. (Bad solution, again)
  12. (and again)
  13. McDowell got a great opportunity and used it. (Solution Right)
  14. Unusual choice, half the people in the crowd didnt know what this problem was. Again nothing stood out (So not good)
  15. Must say wasn’t close to the original. Wah-Wah was missing. (so not good)
  16. Solution Good (ah, this is even more tiring than i expected)
  17. Good
  18. Bad
  19. Good
  20. Bad
  21. Bad
  22. Bad
  23. Bad — Alwar Sir screwed up the solution and he acknowledged and sang the pallavi one more time. Now this is humility in front of his art of the highest order
  24. Bad
  25. Bad
  26. Good
  27. Good (one fellow shouted answer after first part of the problem was stated. Alwar Sir says my students after all, will always do well. Someone shouted Physics problem and Alwar Sir was pissed off, called him nearby and gave him an earful non-stop for two minutes. He was visibly pissed off. But what a lucky guy, he had Alwar Sir one on one for two minutes. Wish it were me!)
  28. Good
  29. Good- Everyone on their feet. Unfortunately Alwar Sir started walking off. End of the class.

ஒரு மனிதன், தனது 73வது வயதில், நான்கு மணிநேரம் ஓய்வில்லாமல் ஒரே இடத்தில் நின்று கொண்டே மேடையில் உள்ள அனைவரையும் கட்டி மேய்ப்பது என்பது எப்படி சாத்தியம் என்று சத்தியமாகப் புரியவில்லை. அதிலும் பல முறை எங்கள் மேல் ஒளிபாய்ச்சச் சொல்லி எங்களையும் கண்டு ரசித்தார். “நீங்க என்ன பாக்குறத விட நான் உங்களப் பாக்குறது ரொம்ப முக்கியம்”. நான் ஒவ்வொரு நிமிடமும் அவர் என்ன செய்கிறார் என்பதையே கவனித்து வந்தேன். இந்த மாதிரி வாய்ப்பு கிடைக்க என்ன தவம் செய்தேனோ தெரியவில்லை.

ஒவ்வொரு முறை ஒரு தவறு நிகழும்போதும் [அது பல முறை நிகழ்ந்தது] அவர் முகத்தில் தெரிந்த ஏமாற்றம் மற்றும் கவலை சில சமயங்களில் ஒரு சிறு சீற்றம், மக்களின் கைதட்டலையும் ஆர்ப்பாட்டத்தையும் ஒரு மெல்லிய வெட்கம் கலந்த புன்னகையுடன் ஏற்றுக்கொண்ட பாங்கு. தனது குழுவினரை அறிமுகப்படுத்தும்போது முகத்தில் தெரிந்த பெருமிதம், தியரங்களின் உள்ளடக்கத்திற்கேற்ப தன் மனத்தை தன்னிச்சையின்றி சேரச் செய்த அழகு, சில தியரங்களை / ஈகுவேஷன்களைத் தானே முன் வந்து நடத்திய அந்த அதிகாரத் தோரணை, குழுவினரை நய்யாண்டி செய்த குறும்பு. சரி நிறுத்தி விடுகிறேன்.

முப்பது வருடங்களுக்கு மேலாக ஒவ்வொரு நாளும் என்னுடன் பயணம் செய்யும் என் இறைவனை கண்கள் முழுவதும் அடைத்துக்கொண்டு பிரிய மனமில்லாமல் வீடு திரும்பினேன். (Wow, didnt have to change a word)

I can’t understand how can one pay money, that too big money, and hear a concert where half the songs were error prone and below par (according to his own statements) and then be enthralled about the whole experience. If you paid for a math lecture and if that lecture was of this quality would you gush over it? I dont know. I like to listen to songs by Raja. But this mindless adulation and hagiographical writing just irritates me beyond belief. I guess to each one his own weakness.

கடைசியா ஒண்ணே ஒண்ணு. எழுதறதுதான் எழுதறீங்க, கொஞ்சம் படிக்கும் படியா, சுவையா, தப்பில்லாமல் எழுதப்பழகுங்கப்பா. #மிடீலை

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