What is the first thing; you unconsciously remember teaching to the little ones in the parental classes at home. Topic that graduates to become the most critical, scoring and utilitarian subject – mathematics or in layman parlance, numerals. Early on counting and numbers are introduced to kids, and given that the intelligence quotient is catching up too soon, some competitive parents introduce numbers even at the tender age of one.
But trust me, it doesn’t stop there. Numbers tag along till we reach our death bed. Inseparable, like our heart beats, our shadow on a sunny day or our instincts. And the rules are set only for positive numbers; negative numbers do not exist in this game. On the number line, any digit residing beyond the check point “0” has no relevance; whatsoever. Had that been the case, of course no one would have wanted to retire from work at 60 years because age adjustments with the assistance of negative numbers would have been possible. When the National Data collectors would have come calling, no one would qualify in the “senior citizen” category. Women had never to conceal their right age, for they could play the joker card of the negative numbers. Astonishingly for the evolved souls, playing number game with negative numbers can bliss there life.
To start the game from the start, in schools and colleges, numbers mean nothing but grades. And good grades mean better colleges, better placements, better pay packages and in some cases scholarships as well. Whether these numbers guarantee a girlfriend or a boyfriend depends upon the academic pedantry of the other partner. Unquestionably for parents, scores may or may not play a role, but how many glasses of milk their child gulped or how many hours he slept or how many things of well-being did their child do; are the numbers which pop in their mind.
Yes, the other crucial double digit that pricks the parents is what age will their child get married and settled in life! Legally they are ready from the onset of the eighteenth birthday, but the other number that gets them to sniffle is the urge for another earning member in the family – need may arise because they have to marry their daughter, to repay a loan, to buy a car, to buy a house, the number of items is endless. So begins the next number challenge, how many “0’s” will my child have in his pay package. If and when he gets married how many people should be in the guest list, how many dishes should be laid out, how many gold ornaments should be purchased, how many rooms should be booked for the guest and so on and so forth. Once the wedding is culminated, funnily the next numbers that jog in the host’s mind are how many gifts were received, how many dinner plates were consumed, how many absentees, how many envelopes of sagan and of course much more. I am sidetracking the next elevation – how many kids and at what age to have kids, and the rule here is always preset. The more the merrier, the sooner the happier!
Professional life has to have either double or triple digit numbers, otherwise it heralds doomsday. In fact in the corporate, numbers move about in vicious circles. They have a ripple effect. One wrong or negative number can spark an arrant professional failure. Less sales number leads to less incentives; low incentives mean decreased salary; less value of salary defines discontent in material life; and when it hits the dead end then only a higher valued salary can get the content back. For a sportsperson the number game is about records set, endorsements signed, series in year, and likewise for actors their box office collections gets the numbers rolling for them. Again numbers can ruin or rule both. And if politics is the profession then every last vote count casted in the ballot box will be as critical as fresh air in Hitler’s gas chamber.
At the onset of retirement number game hits a different pitch. Number of pension policies, number of savings, number of milking assets, number of medical policies, number of unpaid loans is some of the figures that scramble the grey cells. The other numbers which haunt a retiree are what age did the parents pass away, how many in the peer group of cousins and colleagues are alive, what is the average life span, how many medicines has the doctor prescribed in a day, which one of the many children will be the caregiver in old age, how many of peers have moved to old age homes. Oh yes! Another number count that creeps discreetly into the body lying on the death bed is how many tombstones are already on the graveyard. Must it be too crowded, where the family will bury him!
Number game is interminable. And if material detachment is impossible then the journey begins from the number of Lego toys, birthday gifts, gems, chocolates to number of cars, phones, houses, television sets, foreign holidays; the gamut is immeasurable. If the mind cannot fathom the number game which ends at infinity; give a short thought at the beggar at the corner. Does he have a litany of numbers? Honestly no. His number game never ever started least of all to end at infinity. He survives on the left side of the number line and stops at “0”, with no baggage to carry forward.
Blessing is the only cabin baggage which is light and easy to carry forward. So, the only number that is worthy of being counted and well stocked are blessings. Therefore count your blessings and keep treading ahead on the number line without nudging any seated passengers in the aisle. Most of the other numbers lose their relevance in our life journey. They are like the irrelevant numbers saved in the excel sheet of a shut down company. Save your blessing and keep them coming.