Sunday, March 1, 2009

Serendipity! Part 1 of 2

The following account is loosely based on a true incident. 

I was standing by the side of the bar at Adyar bakery last evening eating éclairs, quietly minding my own business. Three pretty girls walked in through the door from where they could see me across the crowded sitting area. From a distance, they just stared at me for what seemed like a whole minute.

I am not the prettiest of sights when I am eating éclairs at Adyar bakery. (I am not the prettiest of sights even otherwise.) But still, they seemed to look at me unflinchingly. Suddenly I stopped eating. The cogs in my brain started whirring, churning out ideas at an alarming rate. The possibilities were overwhelming!

And then it happened.  

The prettiest of the three stepped forward and smiled at me. Time stood still. A slow heartbeat later, the penny dropped. I could feel the excitement building up. She floated past me in what seemed like slow motion as I ran out screaming “It all makes sense now! Murphy was wrong! Murphy was wrong!”

Murphy’s 117th law states “We always have the least of what we need the most.” A direct contradiction to this remarkable law occurred to me when I was sitting in AB yesterday. See, if scientists are to be believed, there are 500 million Ebola viruses on the head of a pin. And since we have only about 3.5 lakh software professionals in the whole of India, it means only one thing. Murphy was way off the mark. Edward Murphy was actually, really, really wrong! The theory I am going to propound might scream sacrilege at hordes of bumming aficionados and intellectuals alike. But every great theory worth its salt is greeted with denunciation when it is born. So, here it is -

“We sometimes have the least of what we need least.” 

(Yes, this means that the list of things I would do to avoid seeing/talking to /meeting a software professional includes, among more horrifying things, getting an intravenous injection of the deadly Ebola strain.)

I cannot replace one of Murphy’s laws. My intellect is too small and insignificant for a feat of that magnitude. I can at best put forward a corollary. It could be my contribution to science! Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Vimal-Murphy exposition
We always have the most of what we need the least. We may also have the least of what we need the least. Except when we have the least of what we need the most, or most of what we need most.”

Except that it wouldn’t be an exposition so much as a mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive set of effectually arbitrary pronouncements, and is a contribution to Science no more than Alice in Wonderland was to the Russian revolution. But at the end of the day, who can honestly say most other scientific theories aren’t?

PS: If you didn’t understand my other claim to fame, watch “The Beautiful Mind”. You will realise how great I am. If I tell you what revolutionary theory I stumbled upon when I returned to AB a couple of hours later, which I will - in another post, you will genuflect.