Some people hate Calculus. Some others Algebra. I don’t fall under both these categories. My pet hate in school was Trigonometry. If one goes by Greek word origins, I think u will see that tri means three and gonia means angle and metron basically means measure. So roughly trigonometry translates to measurement of three angles or simply put, measurement of triangles. Careful post-mortems have linked a lot of my miseries today to the fundamental problem this subject seems to have with me.
(Flash back to end-of-school days)
Tall and lanky that I was, I had always dreamt of being a tear-away pace bowler a la Joel Garner. It was only when I tried living my dreams in the 22 yards that I realized that the ball never landed within the nets. Throwing aside sheer pace, I used to try and concentrate on line and length a la Glen McGrath but then my pace was so pedestrian that the keeper had to come in front of the stumps, collect the ball and try and effect a stumping during those rare occasions when the batsman had not smashed me out of the park. While I labored on, my coach Mr.Rex never had the heart to ask me to take a walk. He would always encourage me during the trials subtly suggesting that I should return to take up my off spin since I could use my height and get my beautiful arc/loop going. However in those days, spin was for sissies and I would have none of it. Finally, on D-Day when it would be time for announcing the list of selected people, I would invariably hear "There is someone else.." Those dreaded 4 words. Yeah, I was still selected for my off spin but then there was this unknown third entity who always got wot I wanted, the third variable in the equation that I always failed to factor in, the much hated third angle to the problem that I had not measured. Trigonometry at work.
Ever since, I have had more than my fair share of spats with Trigonometry. The one I can recollect immediately is how I was allotted to my TOYS R US project at Infy. Since I had expressed a desire to get into Telecom, I had been half expecting to get allotted to the Alcatel account but then I had forgotten about this mysterious third angle that always seems to spring from nowhere to ridicule me. There was another lateral, Karthik Narayan(an) from TCS, who had been dilly-dallying on his joining date since the monsoons in Mumbai had led to all the trains being cancelled for a few days on the route.(July 2000 monsoons were awful in Maharashtra) This guy who had conveyed to HR that he would be delayed by a week suddenly landed up on the same day as I did. So as usual it was "There is someone else..." and I had to settle for second best. I was forced into Retail whereas Mr. Third-Angle was given Alcatel on a platter.
Today after so many years, when I think I have finally made peace with trigonometry, there it is raising its ugly specter again. Just when I have fallen in love. Or atleast I think so. Please don't smirk, OK - Please - Its not books, Govinda, Wimbledon or even my new Gmail account. Its a she - a real she - not the Kareena or Maria Sharapova or whoever. But why do I get that intuition that there is this third angle lurking behind in the shadows. In fact, I am dreading the day when I'm gonna hear those words "There is someone else.."
Brave men die once - Cowards and people who hate trigonometry die a million deaths. Will keep you all posted, for better or for worse :-)