My Approximate Life

I went to Park Street last week, to be precise on the last day of the Mayan calendar. During the day Park Street is no different from the other streets but at night it’s truly fascinating. With the glittering restaurants filled with gleaming patrons, seems there is not much agony left in anyone’s life.

We met for a close friend’s birthday or that’s what I had initially thought. Our organiser had legendary organising skills and had given different timings to different people. As usual, or I would rather like to think that as a result of this, I was late in joining and when I reached the Mocambo restaurant all others were already in the swing and some had their glasses refilled twice or thrice. It seemed it was a get-together of old friends but not everybody knew all others since some were from a common college and some were from past organizations and some were common to both these sets. It was only after a while that I discovered that the attendees were not aware about the fact that our organiser had his birthday on that day and since most of the people were TUI (talking, holy shit!), hence even after it was disclosed it didn’t take much time to forget whose birthday it actually was and soon the table was full of birthday boys each greeting the other with happy birthday.

Amidst this utter confusion, one person commented that the biggest agony of his life is that mathematics is mostly approximate and has failed to live upto the expectation of being the ultimate resort for getting a definitive answer in case of need. At first he mentioned about some heavyweight issues concerning a thousand cross thousand matrix or something like that which simply went above my head. The common college for them being IIT Kanpur and the common department being Mathematics, I thought I should have apprehended this kind of trivial kitty party discussions beforehand and instead should have raised a more cerebral and nationally important topic like deciding and finalising Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement date from the arena of international cricket. After all, throughout the history of mankind people were known to have either shared their problems or blabbered about their likings after filling in a glass or two to some like-minded folks who may or may not be in a stable state of mind to comprehend all that is being said. But just when the food arrived, this guy came down to the brick and mortar topic of measuring the area of a simple circle of diameter 10 centimetres and announced that nobody in the world can say exactly how much that area will be. Since it was coming from the class topper, everybody thought that the last shot has probably gone directly to his head and the guy from Oxford was the first to put forward his counter-argument. But since it was nonetheless quite absorbing, there was a commotion to make the original speaker drink more to get some more chunks of enlightening thoughts from him. But then he grinned and explained that the calculation and the result will totally depend on the value of Pi assumed and that Pi is an approximate number correct to only those many places of decimals as you allow it to be. So if you base your answer on an approximate number, your answer is bound to be approximate since after all Pi is irrational in this life as well as the life after. He said he can cite many such similar examples but since it was becoming late and approximately everybody wanted to head towards home, we had to cut the discussion short.

Only while I was going home, the idea or rather the analogy of it struck a chord with me. It dawned on me that approximately everything that has already happened in my life or is about to happen in my life is to an extent approximate, all our expectations and goals are either approximate or vague and more so are the fulfillments. Who on earth has ever seen an absolute entity unless when the reality approximately matches the expectation etched in the mind and hence gets perceived as absolute or exact ? My life is approximate, so is yours and so it is for everybody.

So my friend, do you agree to it ? At least approximately ?

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