Friday, June 17, 2011

On how many people can be stuffed into an Ambassador car and other scientific findings

The academic year has just begun. In our home, this is silly season. The missus is the most chilled out this time of the year and shows it by giving me exclusive charge of the boys. I am supposed to look into their studies, whether they are doing their homework and slyly monitor what websites they visit  on the computer.

I am a complete disaster at all the above. If our house were China, the missus would be Hu Jintao and I would be, I don't know, perhaps Jackie Chan's sidekick, the one who keeps falling and making funny faces. And my sons rightly accord me the treatment.

We officially study in the evening, between 8 and 9 pm. I try and bring up topics in maths or physics (the missus feels these are the ones I'm least ignorant in) while the boys take the opportunity to try their experimental comedy on me.

Sometimes it's kind of funny, as on the other day, the younger one observed that time was ripe to have a dedicated channel for the fasts unto death that keep happening on a daily basis these days, and suggested that it be called Starve World.

I facepalmed at first and then laughed. Both the lads looked keenly at me. 'Are you feeling alright, Annie?' asked the older one, who is ever apprehensive that I will go around the bend one of these days.

"Oh, yes, yes" I said, composing myself "now, coming to integration by parts.."

"Annie" the younger one interjected


"My biology teacher pronounces 'egg' as 'agg'"

"So? English is not our grandfather's language. It is ok to have accents". I feel strongly about this, having faced a little ridicule in my time over pronouncing 'automatic' as 'attomatic'.

"Annie, what does agnostic mean?" asked the younger one

"Er.. someone who doesn't believe in the existence of God.. I think"

"No, that's 'atheist'. Agnostic means someone doesn't believe God's existence is knowable"

"That's impressive" i said, and I was impressed. The lads show little or no inclination towards reading anything and it's a mystery to me how they accumulate a vocabulary at all.

"It was there in a program on TV"

That explained it.

"Annie, Agnostic would be a good brand name for a teflon coated omelet pan, no?"

"What? Why?" I frequently find my head spinning in these exchanges

"Agg no stick. Get it?" and with a raucous "ha ha ha" easily avoided the book I chucked at him and said something about people who couldn't take the yolk, but I didn't quite catch it.

"Have you finished your Marathi homework?" I asked the younger one.

"Doing it, dude, chill" he said.

I have long given up pointing out that this is an entirely inappropriate tone to use with one's father.

"Right. Now, coming to integration by parts.."

"Annie, you know, it is possible to fit an infinite number of passengers into an Ambassador car", the elder one said

"Are YOU feeling alright?" I asked him.

"What I mean is, you know the proof for there being no largest natural number?"

"Yes.. let 'n' be an arbitarily large natural number. Adding 1 to it makes the resulting number larger, and hence there are infinitely many natural numbers, something like that?"

"Yes, yes!" he said, beaming at me like a benevolent professor smiling upon his favorite student

"So what about it?"

"In the same way, no matter how many people you stuff into an Ambassador car, there is always someone who can stuff one more, no? So it follows that an infinite number of people can be stuffed into and Ambassador car"

I gave up trying to bring up the topic of integration by parts. And abandoned any thoughts of teaching physics either. It seemed to be one of those days. I'd probably get something like "Navier-Stokes equations. Others don't" tossed at me.

So this is how things are at the moment. They will change soon, when the missus takes charge, but till then, I will be guiding their academic progress with my customary competence


Deepak Gopalakrishnan said...


Epic stuff. You and your sons should put on a show at The Comedy Store.

longblackveil said...

Baahahaha. Also, Gaahahaha! Tres adorable, Annie. I like the buildup to Teflon frying pan. Very... scientific. :) God bless y'all.

Anonymous said...

Dude! That ambassador joke is ACTUALLY a fine example of integration by parts! One at a time!

Anna Bond said...

Good to see the blog back in action!
Risking sounding cliche, I'll say "like father, like sons "

D said...

Brilliant. Epic!

Sita K. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sita K. said...

Messed it up :) Here it is now-

So much fun under one roof?
I feel the kids are going to think very fondly of these fun discussions when they grow up!

The Soul of Alec Smart said...

"Aggnostick" is sheer brilliance :D Love your posts.

Coconut Chutney said...

ROFL at aggnostick :D

Saumya said...

Agg no stick takes the eggless cake - do let the young humourist know how much he is appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Why they call you Annie..?

parthicle said...

egg-no-stick! You are a genius - how do you dream this stuff!

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one hoping for junior Shenoy twitter accounts soon?