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  • Translator: Ellen Maloney Reviewer: Rhonda Jacobs

  • Namaste.

  • I'm from India.

  • The home of ancient mathematics.

  • But me, I just hated math.

  • (Laughter)

  • Until it saved my life.

  • I grew up in Akola, a small town 700 miles away from the capital city.

  • In my community, we never had a culture of girls attending school

  • beyond the age of 10 or 12 years.

  • In fact, some women would tell me, "Why do you need education?

  • Just learn the household work so that you can take care of your family."

  • But I never wanted to abide myself by the "normal" rules for girls.

  • And I would think to myself,

  • instead of just learning the household work,

  • why not learn how to make money

  • so that I can actually take care of my family?

  • (Laughter)

  • I knew if I had to do something different, I would have to stay in school.

  • But that was hard.

  • As it was socially not accepted, everybody was against it.

  • But I was a stubborn young girl.

  • I did everything I could to continue studying,

  • even if that meant stitching school uniforms

  • or making festival greeting cards.

  • I did all that.

  • Well, I had excellent grades in all subjects.

  • All except one.

  • You guessed it: math.

  • All these calculations, formulas, multiplication;

  • I just couldn't get them right.

  • After I finished college, I realized I had no future in Akola,

  • so I decided to do something almost nobody in my town had ever done before:

  • to leave my home town, by myself, a single woman.

  • Nobody wanted me to do that.

  • I remember when I walked up to my mom and told her, "Mama, I'm leaving."

  • She looked at me and said,

  • "Uma, I know how difficult it is for you and even for me,

  • and I cannot even support you openly,

  • but I want you to have this."

  • And she hands me a gold bangle.

  • That was the only jewelry left with her.

  • She said, "I don't have much but this is for you to buy the bus ticket."

  • You can see the bus ticket here.

  • It's been ten years. I still have this.

  • As a promise that I won't let my mom sacrifice anything more for me.

  • So, on 22nd of July, 2007, I arrived in Pune, a city of four million people.

  • I had never been out of my village before

  • so being in the city for the first time,

  • I was mesmerized and excited.

  • And scared as well.

  • I didn't even know if I could trust the taxi driver

  • while taking the taxi for the first time in an unknown city.

  • Life in the city was extremely hard at first.

  • I was away from my family, didn't have any friends.

  • I had brought very little money with me; around three and a half dollars.

  • So I used to eat every second day - every other day -

  • so that I can save as much as I can.

  • Yes, good things take time, but they do happen.

  • And finally, it happened to me.

  • I was given an opportunity to work in a primary school, as a teacher.

  • Wow, I was so happy.

  • Until I got to know the subject they gave me to teach.

  • (Laughter)

  • Yes, it was math.

  • (Laughter)

  • And I'm like, "Oh God, how will I teach something I hate so much?"

  • (Laughter)

  • But I had no choice

  • so I started teaching math.

  • You know, the basics like multiplication tables.

  • I remember I struggled every night to figure out lessons for my students.

  • I was hating it.

  • And I was afraid if I didn't do well, I might not make it.

  • But the more I worked on it,

  • trying to make it interesting, trying to make it fun,

  • the more I realized the pattern in these numbers.

  • As if these multiplication tables were sending me a message,

  • I sensed as if these numbers were talking to me.

  • And that's when I figured out the magic these odd and even numbers have;

  • the poetry, the symmetry they have.

  • Let me show you what I mean:

  • Let's look at table of three for example.

  • Feels like we are back in school?

  • (Laughter)

  • Three, we all know it's an odd number.

  • And if I multiply three with another odd number,

  • it gives me a result which is definitely an odd number.

  • Like this one here:

  • Three times three gives us nine.

  • An odd number.

  • And then I noticed something very interesting about it.

  • If I multiply an odd number with an even number,

  • it ultimately becomes an even number,

  • like this one here.

  • Three times four gives us 12.

  • An even number.

  • So, odd multiplied with odd, the result has to definitely be an odd number.

  • But odd multiplied with something even, no matter how many times you do it,

  • it will definitely give us an even number.

  • And I'm like, this is quite me.

  • With all the odds I was up against,

  • if I multiply my odd situation, with my odd behavior ...

  • (Laughter)

  • (Applause)

  • So what happens?

  • I get myself into another odd situation.

  • (Laughter)

  • But the magic is, if I multiply my odd situations with my even behavior,

  • with my positive behavior,

  • it gets me to better results, to even results.

  • And if one doesn't stop when the situations are odd like this,

  • if one keeps pushing himself, keeps multiplying his blessings,

  • keeps multiplying his skills,

  • even though the beginning is, the end will never be odd.

  • Wow, so once I got to know this,

  • I was like, if something odd can teach me such a valuable lesson of life,

  • I'm sure there is something interesting about the even numbers as well.

  • (Laughter)

  • So, let's look at table of two, for example.

  • What I notice here is every time, right from the beginning to the end,

  • all multiplication results are even, without any odds.

  • And how is it possible?

  • That's possible because the number itself which is getting multiplied,

  • is an even number.

  • This tells me if I am even to myself, as an individual,

  • nothing odd will come my way.

  • (Laughter)

  • Now this of course doesn't mean I don't come across any odd or bad situations.

  • I certainly do.

  • But facing them with even attitude makes the whole difference.

  • That's how, even though I have to struggle hard for my basic rights,

  • instead of being upset and angry, I am happy and even to myself,

  • because the struggle made me stronger, made me who I am today.

  • Now I have these learnings, these secrets from all different multiplication tables.

  • One of my favorites is table of 11.

  • And I think most of us liked, when we were in school,

  • because that is the easiest one to multiply.

  • What I love about this is the perfect symmetry in it.

  • The one and one, the two and two.

  • Isn't that beautiful?

  • And easy, of course.

  • For me, the question was:

  • How can I have my life this similarly easy and beautiful?

  • For me these two symmetrical numbers reflect the outside me and the inside me.

  • I can live in harmony, I can live in peace

  • only when my outside matches my inner being.

  • Isn't this all we're looking for?

  • We can be anybody; maybe two, maybe three.

  • Whoever we are,

  • unless or until our inside personality matches our outside personality,

  • our outside personality matches our inside personality,

  • we cannot live in peace, we cannot live in harmony.

  • Now, because math became my art, became my reminder,

  • my guide of what I needed to do,

  • and what my goal was, I started loving math.

  • Because of this, I was not only able to keep my job,

  • but also make it interesting for others.

  • Now ten years down the line, I have a wonderful job in a great company.

  • I am able to move my entire family to Pune to live with me.

  • Now nobody says I shouldn't have done this.

  • Rather everyone appreciates for what I stood for.

  • As kids, we all are asked to solve math problems.

  • But in reality, math solved many of my problems.

  • Thank you for having me. Dhanyavaad (Thank you).

  • (Applause) (Cheers)

Translator: Ellen Maloney Reviewer: Rhonda Jacobs

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A2 初級

掛け算に隠されたメッセージ|ウマ・アドワーニ|TED Institute (The hidden messages in multiplication | Uma Adwani | TED Institute)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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