johns 1959
A world of theorems and formulae
by Vijaya Gowrisankar

“This sum is so hard.” I heard my friends groan. I looked
at them and shook my head. “Once you understand the
technique, it is really simple,” I said. Maths and I were best
pals; she understood me and I understood her, like no other

It all started with explaining how to solve the Maths problems
to my friends, my classmates. I needed assistance for Hindi and
I offered my services as a Maths teacher to her son, instead of
tuition fees. It started as a mutual understanding, a need

Before I knew it, I was spending time teaching Maths to those who
struggled with it. I was always surrounded by kids, even at lunch,
those in the same class and junior to me. The joy when they solved
each problem and the struggle to explain to those who refused to listen

I learnt to tailor my explanations depending on the calibre of each student
For the weaker ones, I explained easier techniques. For those who just
needed a push and were sharp, I taught them the tricks of revision. I told
them to attempt the simpler sums, and prepared pages of sums to practice

IMAGE: “Numbers in Color” by Jasper Johns (1958-59).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: A major surgery in class 7 left me with a weak nervous system. This meant I stammered badly when I tried to talk. My self-confidence was at its lowest low. I felt at peace when I did Maths. I loved Maths and “She” loved me in return. Surprisingly, I stammered less when I was explaining Maths or talking to Maths. That love for Maths opened the opportunity and for a long time, that was my first job. I taught Maths to children for years.


Vijaya Gowrisankar
‘s fourth book of poems, Savour –Art and Poetry Meet, was published on April 30, 2017. Her first three books of poems, ExploreReflectand Inspire, are all bestsellers. Her submissions have been published in Silver Birch Press, Nancy Drew Anthology, Poetry Marathon 2016 Anthology, Sometimes Anyway: Pride in Poetry Volume II, Forwardian, Triadae Magazine, iWrite India, Dystenium Online, and Taj Mahal Review anthologies. She has appeared as guest speaker in colleges. A participant in the Poetry Marathon 2016 (24 poems in 24 hours, 1 poem per hour), she has reviewed and edited poetry and fiction books. She participated in NaNoWriMo 2016 and completed her first novel in November 2016. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter. Visit her blog at