Friday, December 16, 2011

Anecdote - Puzzles and bets

Puzzles and bets
        When working in the same engineering college where I studied,was staying in the hostel for sometime. One Saturday afternoon, the hostel was almost empty as the boys had gone to their natives. Went to a room where three students were staying. We started chatting in general. All of a sudden the chat went towards puzzles. One student asked me to solve a puzzle. 

        I had heard that puzzle already and knew the answer. I didn't reveal that I knew the answer. He started betting 100 rupees for that. Though I was sure that I would win, I said that the bet was a single tea and single vada. The time given to me was 5 minutes. One of the other students was nominated as the time keeper. I pretended to solve the puzzle for 4 minutes and 50 seconds. Gave few failing sounds like 'Ipch','Che','Ush..' etc. The timekeeper started the count down "ten,nine,.." for the last ten seconds.He was enjoying his role. There was tension in the room and I could sense that in others faces.
Exactly when he said 'five' I told that I got the answer.The student who had bet agreed with my answer and was upset totally. 

       Like Dharma in Mahabharatha, he wanted to play till he wins and called me for bet for two more puzzles one after the other. I had no option but to agree. He told the puzzles, which too were familiar and I knew their answers as well. History repeated for both the puzzles. 4 min,50 seconds,count down, "DHIK DHIK" , "DHIK DHIK" for the students and I told the answer at 'five' during the count down. Now I had won(!?) three teas and three vadas. 

     The betting student called for one final bet. I was tired becoz of the same routine action and the winning. I agreed with one condition that it was the last and final and no more puzzles. He too agreed and told the puzzle. My God!. That puzzle was familiar but not the answer. When doing the final year in that same college, one of my classmates told that puzzle. I tried intensely for around two hours and failed to solve. For some reason I couldn't know the answer at that time. 

    Those were not the Google days.The bad thing was,the time given was 5 minutes even for that puzzle. It was my heart's turn for the "DHIK DHIK" , "DHIK DHIK". I started trying with a hope and 100% concentration without bothering about losing. (After all, I would still end with 2 teas and 2 vadas). 

      Time was running and history repeated again. 4 minutes,50 seconds. The last 10 seconds countdown also started. I scaled down the problem to a simpler version and by the time the timekeeper said 'five', I had figured out the answer, that time really. I shouted "Got it" with 'real' delight with no acting. We four of us went to the canteen, had one tea and one vada each, chatting about the puzzles and the excitements. The students wondered how I was able to answer all the four puzzles. When returning to the hostel from the canteen,I told the students the secret of winning the first 3 puzzles and the struggle in winning the last one . I think they enjoyed the fun with a weird expression in their faces.

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