How They Use Mathematics To Explain Why They Don't Have Kids
“Are you married?”
“How many children do you have?”
“We do not have any!”
“How many years have you been married?”
“As you point out, it has been many years since we got married.”
“And you do not have kids? Did you consult a doctor?”
“You mean the doctor would have given us kids?”
“No! You are married for so long and yet do not have kids!”
The mathematics teacher in me awoke.
It led me to questioning the other person, as to whether the conditional that marriage implies kids necessarily holds good.
Is the converse necessarily true? I mean, is it necessary that if you have kids you are married?
What about the inverse? If you are not married does that necessarily mean that you cannot have kids?
And finally, the question that would lead directly to our biological state – the contrapositive.
Is it necessary that if you do not have kids, then you cannot be married?
I got hold of a blank sheet of paper and started drawing Venn diagrams.
The person on the other side was now cursing himself for his intrusion, but I wouldn’t relent. I was desperate that the message spreads, of how ruthless I can be with people whose application of mathematical logic in the real world is not up to my expectations.
I could have explained that before marriage the two people that matter (we) had talked of not having ‘our own’ kids, so that we can reach out to more kids, as our love for kids cannot ever be satiated. But I knew from experience that it would not have cut any ice…for I’d tried before and we were still asked, “But then, why did you even marry?”
Our answer, that we did it to get to stay in the married students’ hostel, since it was cheaper than continuing in the rented accommodation outside during our university days, also left people equally, if not even more, dazed.
Then the conversation went so:
“You lived together?”
“Why not? Aren’t two people in love supposed to live together? Do you stay separately from your husband?”
And again, it looked like checkmate.
I used to tell them that normally people are prevented from marrying because of financial hurdles. We married because of financial bottlenecks…and I confessed that I compromised on our ideological position (against conventional marriage) to bring down our room rent from over two and a half thousand to below a hundred rupees a month. And in the days when we were both students and were supporting ourselves through tuitions, that meant a lot.
Even being dubbed opportunists for the move couldn’t prevent me from institutionalising our relationship. But that does not mean that for the relation to function we need to convert it to an equation, with the parents being coefficients and the children being the variables.
Who wants ownership, when all that one needs is access?
And access to children we have…and how…from kids in pre-nursery classes to those graduating. (We are both teachers.)
If some people still feel that we are here to procreate, for them I have a gift…you can go ahead and produce our share of kids as well.
In this period of liquidity crisis in particular, isn’t this gift a smart one? It definitely saves me from queuing up in front of an ATM or from visiting the branch for cash to buy anything else.
Hail inquisitiveness! Hail intruders!