full transcript
#### From the Ted Talk by Uma Adwani: The hidden messages in multiplication

## Unscramble the Blue Letters

Namaste. I'm from India. The home of ancient mathematics. But me, I just hated math. (Laughter) Until it saved my life. I grew up in Akola, a small town 700 miels away from the ciapatl city. In my community, we never had a culture of girls attending school beyond the age of 10 or 12 yreas. In fact, some women would tell me, "Why do you need education? Just learn the household work so that you can take care of your family." But I never wanted to abide myself by the "normal" rules for glris. And I would think to myself, instead of just learning the household work, why not laren how to make money so that I can actually take care of my family? (Laughter) I knew if I had to do something different, I would have to stay in school. But that was hard. As it was silcaoly not accepted, everybody was against it. But I was a srtbobun young girl. I did everything I could to continue studying, even if that meant stitching school uniforms or making festival greeting cards. I did all that. Well, I had excellent grades in all subjects. All except one. You guessed it: math. All these calculations, formulas, multiplication; I just couldn't get them right. After I finished college, I rzilaeed I had no ftuure in Akola, so I dcieded to do something almost nobody in my town had ever done before: to leave my home town, by myself, a snlgie woman. Nobody wanted me to do that. I remember when I walked up to my mom and told her, "Mama, I'm leaving." She looked at me and said, "Uma, I know how difficult it is for you and even for me, and I cannot even support you openly, but I want you to have this." And she hands me a gold bangle. That was the only jewelry left with her. She said, "I don't have much but this is for you to buy the bus ticket." You can see the bus ticket here. It's been ten years. I still have this. As a promise that I won't let my mom sacrifice anything more for me. So, on 22nd of July, 2007, I arrived in Pune, a city of four million ppleoe. I had never been out of my village before so being in the city for the first time, I was meismzeerd and excietd. And sraecd as well. I didn't even know if I could trust the taxi dvrier while taking the taxi for the first time in an uwnnkon city. Life in the city was eltrxmeey hard at first. I was away from my family, didn't have any friends. I had brought very little money with me; around three and a half dollars. So I used to eat every second day - every other day - so that I can save as much as I can. Yes, good things take time, but they do happen. And finally, it happened to me. I was given an opportunity to work in a primary sohocl, as a teacher. Wow, I was so happy. Until I got to know the subject they gave me to taceh. (Laughter) Yes, it was math. (Laughter) And I'm like, "Oh God, how will I teach something I hate so much?" (Laughter) But I had no ccohie so I started teaching math. You know, the basics like multiplication tables. I remember I struggled every night to figure out lessons for my students. I was hating it. And I was araifd if I didn't do well, I might not make it. But the more I woekrd on it, trying to make it interesting, trying to make it fun, the more I realized the pattern in these numbers. As if these multiplication telabs were sdennig me a msgseae, I sensed as if these nmubers were talking to me. And that's when I figured out the magic these odd and even numbers have; the poetry, the symmetry they have. Let me show you what I mean: Let's look at tbale of three for example. Feels like we are back in school? (Laughter) Three, we all know it's an odd number. And if I multiply three with another odd number, it gives me a result which is definitely an odd number. Like this one here: Three tiems three gives us nine. An odd number. And then I noticed something very interesting about it. If I multiply an odd number with an even number, it ultimately becomes an even number, like this one here. Three times four gives us 12. An even nuebmr. So, odd multiplied with odd, the result has to definitely be an odd number. But odd multiplied with something even, no matter how many times you do it, it will definitely give us an even number. And I'm like, this is quite me. With all the odds I was up against, if I multiply my odd situation, with my odd behavior ... (Laughter) (Applause) So what happens? I get myself into another odd stiiauotn. (lgatheur) But the magic is, if I mlluipty my odd situations with my even behavior, with my positive bvieoahr, it gets me to better results, to even rltuess. And if one doesn't stop when the situations are odd like this, if one keeps pushing himself, keeps multiplying his blessings, keeps multiplying his skills, even though the beginning is, the end will never be odd. Wow, so once I got to know this, I was like, if something odd can teach me such a valuable lesson of life, I'm sure there is something interesting about the even numbers as well. (Laughter) So, let's look at table of two, for example. What I notice here is every time, right from the binnniegg to the end, all multiplication results are even, without any odds. And how is it possible? That's possible because the number itself which is getting multiplied, is an even number. This tlels me if I am even to myself, as an idnaviduil, nothing odd will come my way. (Laughter) Now this of course doesn't mean I don't come across any odd or bad situations. I certainly do. But facing them with even attitude makes the whole difference. That's how, even though I have to struggle hard for my basic rights, instead of being upset and angry, I am happy and even to myself, because the struggle made me stronger, made me who I am today. Now I have these learnings, these setercs from all different multiplication tables. One of my favorites is table of 11. And I think most of us liked, when we were in school, because that is the easiest one to multiply. What I love about this is the perfect symmetry in it. The one and one, the two and two. Isn't that beautiful? And easy, of course. For me, the question was: How can I have my life this smaililry easy and beautiful? For me these two symmetrical numbers reflect the outside me and the inside me. I can live in harmony, I can live in pceae only when my outside matches my inner being. Isn't this all we're looking for? We can be anybody; maybe two, maybe three. Whoever we are, unless or until our inside personality matches our outside personality, our outside personality matches our inside personality, we cannot live in peace, we cannot live in hranomy. Now, because math became my art, became my reminder, my guide of what I needed to do, and what my goal was, I started loving math. Because of this, I was not only able to keep my job, but also make it interesting for others. Now ten years down the line, I have a wnrdofeul job in a graet company. I am able to move my entire fimaly to Pune to live with me. Now nobody says I shouldn't have done this. Rather everyone appreciates for what I stood for. As kids, we all are asked to solve math problems. But in reality, math selovd many of my problems. Thank you for having me. dahynavaad (Thank you). (Applause) (cerhes)
## Open Cloze

Namaste. I'm from India. The home of ancient mathematics. But me, I just hated math. (Laughter) Until it saved my life. I grew up in Akola, a small town 700 **_____** away from the **_______** city. In my community, we never had a culture of girls attending school beyond the age of 10 or 12 **_____**. In fact, some women would tell me, "Why do you need education? Just learn the household work so that you can take care of your family." But I never wanted to abide myself by the "normal" rules for **_____**. And I would think to myself, instead of just learning the household work, why not **_____** how to make money so that I can actually take care of my family? (Laughter) I knew if I had to do something different, I would have to stay in school. But that was hard. As it was **________** not accepted, everybody was against it. But I was a **________** young girl. I did everything I could to continue studying, even if that meant stitching school uniforms or making festival greeting cards. I did all that. Well, I had excellent grades in all subjects. All except one. You guessed it: math. All these calculations, formulas, multiplication; I just couldn't get them right. After I finished college, I **________** I had no **______** in Akola, so I **_______** to do something almost nobody in my town had ever done before: to leave my home town, by myself, a **______** woman. Nobody wanted me to do that. I remember when I walked up to my mom and told her, "Mama, I'm leaving." She looked at me and said, "Uma, I know how difficult it is for you and even for me, and I cannot even support you openly, but I want you to have this." And she hands me a gold bangle. That was the only jewelry left with her. She said, "I don't have much but this is for you to buy the bus ticket." You can see the bus ticket here. It's been ten years. I still have this. As a promise that I won't let my mom sacrifice anything more for me. So, on 22nd of July, 2007, I arrived in Pune, a city of four million **______**. I had never been out of my village before so being in the city for the first time, I was **__________** and **_______**. And **______** as well. I didn't even know if I could trust the taxi **______** while taking the taxi for the first time in an **_______** city. Life in the city was **_________** hard at first. I was away from my family, didn't have any friends. I had brought very little money with me; around three and a half dollars. So I used to eat every second day - every other day - so that I can save as much as I can. Yes, good things take time, but they do happen. And finally, it happened to me. I was given an opportunity to work in a primary **______**, as a teacher. Wow, I was so happy. Until I got to know the subject they gave me to **_____**. (Laughter) Yes, it was math. (Laughter) And I'm like, "Oh God, how will I teach something I hate so much?" (Laughter) But I had no **______** so I started teaching math. You know, the basics like multiplication tables. I remember I struggled every night to figure out lessons for my students. I was hating it. And I was **______** if I didn't do well, I might not make it. But the more I **______** on it, trying to make it interesting, trying to make it fun, the more I realized the pattern in these numbers. As if these multiplication **______** were **_______** me a **_______**, I sensed as if these **_______** were talking to me. And that's when I figured out the magic these odd and even numbers have; the poetry, the symmetry they have. Let me show you what I mean: Let's look at **_____** of three for example. Feels like we are back in school? (Laughter) Three, we all know it's an odd number. And if I multiply three with another odd number, it gives me a result which is definitely an odd number. Like this one here: Three **_____** three gives us nine. An odd number. And then I noticed something very interesting about it. If I multiply an odd number with an even number, it ultimately becomes an even number, like this one here. Three times four gives us 12. An even **______**. So, odd multiplied with odd, the result has to definitely be an odd number. But odd multiplied with something even, no matter how many times you do it, it will definitely give us an even number. And I'm like, this is quite me. With all the odds I was up against, if I multiply my odd situation, with my odd behavior ... (Laughter) (Applause) So what happens? I get myself into another odd **_________**. (**________**) But the magic is, if I **________** my odd situations with my even behavior, with my positive **________**, it gets me to better results, to even **_______**. And if one doesn't stop when the situations are odd like this, if one keeps pushing himself, keeps multiplying his blessings, keeps multiplying his skills, even though the beginning is, the end will never be odd. Wow, so once I got to know this, I was like, if something odd can teach me such a valuable lesson of life, I'm sure there is something interesting about the even numbers as well. (Laughter) So, let's look at table of two, for example. What I notice here is every time, right from the **_________** to the end, all multiplication results are even, without any odds. And how is it possible? That's possible because the number itself which is getting multiplied, is an even number. This **_____** me if I am even to myself, as an **__________**, nothing odd will come my way. (Laughter) Now this of course doesn't mean I don't come across any odd or bad situations. I certainly do. But facing them with even attitude makes the whole difference. That's how, even though I have to struggle hard for my basic rights, instead of being upset and angry, I am happy and even to myself, because the struggle made me stronger, made me who I am today. Now I have these learnings, these **_______** from all different multiplication tables. One of my favorites is table of 11. And I think most of us liked, when we were in school, because that is the easiest one to multiply. What I love about this is the perfect symmetry in it. The one and one, the two and two. Isn't that beautiful? And easy, of course. For me, the question was: How can I have my life this **_________** easy and beautiful? For me these two symmetrical numbers reflect the outside me and the inside me. I can live in harmony, I can live in **_____** only when my outside matches my inner being. Isn't this all we're looking for? We can be anybody; maybe two, maybe three. Whoever we are, unless or until our inside personality matches our outside personality, our outside personality matches our inside personality, we cannot live in peace, we cannot live in **_______**. Now, because math became my art, became my reminder, my guide of what I needed to do, and what my goal was, I started loving math. Because of this, I was not only able to keep my job, but also make it interesting for others. Now ten years down the line, I have a **_________** job in a **_____** company. I am able to move my entire **______** to Pune to live with me. Now nobody says I shouldn't have done this. Rather everyone appreciates for what I stood for. As kids, we all are asked to solve math problems. But in reality, math **______** many of my problems. Thank you for having me. **__________** (Thank you). (Applause) (**______**)
## Solution

- number
- solved
- stubborn
- secrets
- sending
- driver
- extremely
- cheers
- teach
- unknown
- years
- tables
- worked
- table
- learn
- results
- future
- behavior
- mesmerized
- tells
- capital
- situation
- socially
- peace
- choice
- miles
- school
- decided
- realized
- afraid
- scared
- beginning
- numbers
- times
- people
- wonderful
- laughter
- harmony
- message
- family
- great
- excited
- dhanyavaad
- girls
- multiply
- similarly
- single
- individual

## Original Text

Namaste. I'm from India. The home of ancient mathematics. But me, I just hated math. (Laughter) Until it saved my life. I grew up in Akola, a small town 700 miles away from the capital city. In my community, we never had a culture of girls attending school beyond the age of 10 or 12 years. In fact, some women would tell me, "Why do you need education? Just learn the household work so that you can take care of your family." But I never wanted to abide myself by the "normal" rules for girls. And I would think to myself, instead of just learning the household work, why not learn how to make money so that I can actually take care of my family? (Laughter) I knew if I had to do something different, I would have to stay in school. But that was hard. As it was socially not accepted, everybody was against it. But I was a stubborn young girl. I did everything I could to continue studying, even if that meant stitching school uniforms or making festival greeting cards. I did all that. Well, I had excellent grades in all subjects. All except one. You guessed it: math. All these calculations, formulas, multiplication; I just couldn't get them right. After I finished college, I realized I had no future in Akola, so I decided to do something almost nobody in my town had ever done before: to leave my home town, by myself, a single woman. Nobody wanted me to do that. I remember when I walked up to my mom and told her, "Mama, I'm leaving." She looked at me and said, "Uma, I know how difficult it is for you and even for me, and I cannot even support you openly, but I want you to have this." And she hands me a gold bangle. That was the only jewelry left with her. She said, "I don't have much but this is for you to buy the bus ticket." You can see the bus ticket here. It's been ten years. I still have this. As a promise that I won't let my mom sacrifice anything more for me. So, on 22nd of July, 2007, I arrived in Pune, a city of four million people. I had never been out of my village before so being in the city for the first time, I was mesmerized and excited. And scared as well. I didn't even know if I could trust the taxi driver while taking the taxi for the first time in an unknown city. Life in the city was extremely hard at first. I was away from my family, didn't have any friends. I had brought very little money with me; around three and a half dollars. So I used to eat every second day - every other day - so that I can save as much as I can. Yes, good things take time, but they do happen. And finally, it happened to me. I was given an opportunity to work in a primary school, as a teacher. Wow, I was so happy. Until I got to know the subject they gave me to teach. (Laughter) Yes, it was math. (Laughter) And I'm like, "Oh God, how will I teach something I hate so much?" (Laughter) But I had no choice so I started teaching math. You know, the basics like multiplication tables. I remember I struggled every night to figure out lessons for my students. I was hating it. And I was afraid if I didn't do well, I might not make it. But the more I worked on it, trying to make it interesting, trying to make it fun, the more I realized the pattern in these numbers. As if these multiplication tables were sending me a message, I sensed as if these numbers were talking to me. And that's when I figured out the magic these odd and even numbers have; the poetry, the symmetry they have. Let me show you what I mean: Let's look at table of three for example. Feels like we are back in school? (Laughter) Three, we all know it's an odd number. And if I multiply three with another odd number, it gives me a result which is definitely an odd number. Like this one here: Three times three gives us nine. An odd number. And then I noticed something very interesting about it. If I multiply an odd number with an even number, it ultimately becomes an even number, like this one here. Three times four gives us 12. An even number. So, odd multiplied with odd, the result has to definitely be an odd number. But odd multiplied with something even, no matter how many times you do it, it will definitely give us an even number. And I'm like, this is quite me. With all the odds I was up against, if I multiply my odd situation, with my odd behavior ... (Laughter) (Applause) So what happens? I get myself into another odd situation. (Laughter) But the magic is, if I multiply my odd situations with my even behavior, with my positive behavior, it gets me to better results, to even results. And if one doesn't stop when the situations are odd like this, if one keeps pushing himself, keeps multiplying his blessings, keeps multiplying his skills, even though the beginning is, the end will never be odd. Wow, so once I got to know this, I was like, if something odd can teach me such a valuable lesson of life, I'm sure there is something interesting about the even numbers as well. (Laughter) So, let's look at table of two, for example. What I notice here is every time, right from the beginning to the end, all multiplication results are even, without any odds. And how is it possible? That's possible because the number itself which is getting multiplied, is an even number. This tells me if I am even to myself, as an individual, nothing odd will come my way. (Laughter) Now this of course doesn't mean I don't come across any odd or bad situations. I certainly do. But facing them with even attitude makes the whole difference. That's how, even though I have to struggle hard for my basic rights, instead of being upset and angry, I am happy and even to myself, because the struggle made me stronger, made me who I am today. Now I have these learnings, these secrets from all different multiplication tables. One of my favorites is table of 11. And I think most of us liked, when we were in school, because that is the easiest one to multiply. What I love about this is the perfect symmetry in it. The one and one, the two and two. Isn't that beautiful? And easy, of course. For me, the question was: How can I have my life this similarly easy and beautiful? For me these two symmetrical numbers reflect the outside me and the inside me. I can live in harmony, I can live in peace only when my outside matches my inner being. Isn't this all we're looking for? We can be anybody; maybe two, maybe three. Whoever we are, unless or until our inside personality matches our outside personality, our outside personality matches our inside personality, we cannot live in peace, we cannot live in harmony. Now, because math became my art, became my reminder, my guide of what I needed to do, and what my goal was, I started loving math. Because of this, I was not only able to keep my job, but also make it interesting for others. Now ten years down the line, I have a wonderful job in a great company. I am able to move my entire family to Pune to live with me. Now nobody says I shouldn't have done this. Rather everyone appreciates for what I stood for. As kids, we all are asked to solve math problems. But in reality, math solved many of my problems. Thank you for having me. Dhanyavaad (Thank you). (Applause) (Cheers)
## Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

### ngrams of length 2

collocation |
frequency |

odd number |
5 |

multiplication tables |
3 |

ten years |
2 |

odd multiplied |
2 |

personality matches |
2 |

## Important Words

- abide
- accepted
- afraid
- age
- akola
- ancient
- angry
- applause
- appreciates
- arrived
- art
- asked
- attending
- attitude
- bad
- bangle
- basic
- basics
- beautiful
- beginning
- behavior
- blessings
- brought
- bus
- buy
- calculations
- capital
- cards
- care
- cheers
- choice
- city
- college
- community
- company
- continue
- culture
- day
- decided
- dhanyavaad
- difference
- difficult
- dollars
- driver
- easiest
- easy
- eat
- education
- entire
- excellent
- excited
- extremely
- facing
- fact
- family
- favorites
- feels
- festival
- figure
- figured
- finally
- finished
- formulas
- friends
- fun
- future
- gave
- girl
- girls
- give
- goal
- god
- gold
- good
- grades
- great
- greeting
- grew
- guessed
- guide
- hands
- happen
- happened
- happy
- hard
- harmony
- hate
- hated
- hating
- home
- household
- india
- individual
- interesting
- jewelry
- job
- july
- kids
- knew
- laughter
- learn
- learning
- learnings
- leave
- leaving
- left
- lesson
- lessons
- life
- line
- live
- looked
- love
- loving
- magic
- making
- matches
- math
- mathematics
- matter
- meant
- mesmerized
- message
- miles
- million
- mom
- money
- move
- multiplication
- multiplied
- multiply
- multiplying
- namaste
- needed
- night
- notice
- noticed
- number
- numbers
- odd
- odds
- openly
- opportunity
- pattern
- peace
- people
- perfect
- personality
- poetry
- positive
- primary
- problems
- promise
- pune
- pushing
- question
- reality
- realized
- reflect
- remember
- reminder
- result
- results
- rights
- rules
- sacrifice
- save
- saved
- scared
- school
- secrets
- sending
- sensed
- show
- similarly
- single
- situation
- situations
- skills
- small
- socially
- solve
- solved
- started
- stay
- stitching
- stood
- stop
- stronger
- struggle
- struggled
- stubborn
- students
- studying
- subject
- subjects
- support
- symmetrical
- symmetry
- table
- tables
- talking
- taxi
- teach
- teacher
- teaching
- tells
- ten
- ticket
- time
- times
- today
- told
- town
- trust
- ultimately
- uniforms
- unknown
- upset
- valuable
- village
- walked
- wanted
- woman
- women
- wonderful
- work
- worked
- wow
- years
- young