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Mathematician Arti Nandwani Suggests Compass For Making Perfectly Round Rotis

  • IWB Post
  •  October 16, 2015


How would you react if I told you that you were to go back to your grade 11th-12th tuition classes? Math classes at that, specifically. Would you give me the creepy look and trail off? Or would you be delighted at reliving good ol’ memories?

I, for one, would be exceedingly overjoyed at the thought of sitting again in my math class solving questions of trigonometry and calculus all over again. *Drooling already!*24

Psst! In lieu of the World Math Day, I did visit my math teacher, Arti Nandwani, (who is also a teacher at Neerja Modi School)! And it wasn’t merely a pleasant reminiscence. I took for her some interesting equations. Read how she applies them in her life and how she performs in the JWB’s version of a math class!

Me: This is nothing short of a theorem: Majority of Homo sapiens dread Mathematics. What made you choose it?20

Arti: *Chuckles* I don’t know why, but I have always been very fond of mathematics. Back in my schooldays, whenever I had free time at home, I solved and re-solved math questions.

Me: So, back then, did you want to be an engineer?

Arti: I wanted to be an architect. But I couldn’t go for it.

Me: Why?

Arti: My father passed away when I was a little girl and it was my mother who brought me up. At the time of choosing a career, a lot of people told my mother that architecture isn’t a suitable field for girls and that it demands working at odd times as well.19

Me: What happened next?

Arti: I opted for BCA (hons). And after that I did M.Sc Maths.

Me: So, during your masters, were you determined to be a teacher?

Arti: I did my Masters after getting married. After having a one-year old baby.18

Me: Whoa!

And with that I could almost visualize Arti juggling her year-old baby on one hand and RD Sharma Math books on the other. Yes, my imagination has an impressive velocity, if that’s what you’re wondering.17

Arti: …and back then, my husband was the constant motivation. *Coyly* He still is, actually. It was he who pushed me to go ahead. So, at that time, I knew that through teaching I could pursue my passion and take care of my baby, my home, simultaneously. And so here I am. *Smiles*

Me + My husband = Everything that I am26

Me: I guess I owe my 12th standard mathematics scores to your husband then!

Arti: And I am fortunate to have a very loving mother-in-law. She supports me a lot, takes care of the kids while I’m at school! All this makes my life what it is!

Me + My husband + A lovely mother-in-law = Lottery

Me: Let’s talk about your looong teaching career! How has it been so far?11

Arti: Like you said, kids dread Mathematics. But more than that, they dread Math teachers. Their assumption:

Khadus + Strict + Rude + Horrible = Math teacher

Me: Hahahaha! I can so agree on that on behalf of some of my classmates!

Arti: It is the subject that makes our personality so. See, an English or Social science teacher, for example, would take you through different aspects so you can think better. But a math teacher will encourage your reasoning and logical skills so that you can solve.

So, it takes time for the kids to open up. But just as there’s a connection, mathematics becomes a pleasure both for them and for me.14

Me: While we are addressing the kids, one ultimate mathematics life hack for them?

Arti: There’s just one hack:

Math – Practice = Failure

=> Math + Practice = Success

=> Success = Happy x (You + Teacher + Parents)

All those who have always wondered if they’d ever apply algebra and those complex equations in real life, psst! Are you reading this!? This could be a ‘My whole life is a lie’ moment for you.

Me: Mathematics is a practical subject. Has this practicality also infused in your personality and your daily regime?1

Arti: It definitely has! I’ve become a very calculative, organized and straightforward person. When you solve math problems, you consequentially brainstorm a lot. And when you brainstorm a lot, its applicability in real life also increases.

I second that! I remember those days of doing tuition homework when unsolved questions used to bother my sleep by appearing in my dreams in funny forms. Lol.

Me: Let’s talk about future goals, shall we?

Arti: My next goal is to write my book, math book, of course, and to pursue Ph.D in Mathematics. I’ll check them off the list once my children grow up a bit.3

Me: I can already visualize kids running after ‘Arti Nandwani’ Math Books in the near future, just as they run after R.D. Sharma in the present!

Arti: Hahaha! Let’s hope so!

Me: Time for something challenging now. *Brings out a glitzy yellow briefcase*

Arti: *Intrigued*

Me: Allow me to present to you… Mr. Geometry Case. I am going to present its contents in a different context in front of you. You have to give your take on that. Ready?

Arti: *Excited* Yeah, I guess.9

Me: Here are the set-squares. This is the equilateral one and that is the non-equilateral one. Let’s compare the three vertices to the three elements of a woman’s life: Family. Work. Me-time. How to go from unequal distribution to equal distribution?

Arti: Wow! That’s quite an interesting perspective!

Me: Your take?4

Arti: I think the balanced set-square is a hypothetical situation in context of a woman’s life. You just cannot distribute equally between the three. We Indians are born and brought up in such a way, that no matter what, family always remains our first priority. And in the schedule of a woman, it takes up maximum share.


For me, my work and me-time is almost the same. I work because I am passionate about mathematics. So, isn’t my work about me and for me?

Me: Health is one thing women forget to take care of.

Arti: Yes, that is one thing that I would distinctly put under me-time.

Me: What else can you do with the set squares?22

Arti: I can make a kite. See? *Grins*

Me: Hahaha! Awesome! Next, I grant you the ‘D’ (Protractor)

Arti: Umm, I could make a fan out of it!cover

Mera naam chun chun chun baba chun chun chun?

Arti: And with that compass I guess one could make perfectly round rotis!16

Me: Hahahaha! Really! As it is, in our Incredible India, it is often said, ladki ko agar gol roti banana ati hai, toh sab kuch ata hai!

Arti: Absolutely!

Me: So, what is Arti Nandwani like when she is not teaching or taking care of her family? Three things that you do?6

Arti: Umm… I like psychology. When I am free, I read up psychology, especially child psychology articles on the internet while listening to music. So that is one thing. Second, I love to play badminton with my little girls! And third, I like to cook new things for my family, whenever I get time… though it is a different thing that I don’t cook regularly! *Chuckles*

With that pleasant recollection of old memories, and with that witty round roti tip, I took my leave, letting the lovely conversation soak in.

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