If you remember, my previous story was about my visit to my sister's place where I face the ‘adventurous encounter’ with negative numbers with my 6-yr old nephew (Jash) and his 9-yr old cousin (my ‘new niece’ ;-)

For those, who haven’t read that story, may find it here:

http://rupeshgesota.blogspot.in/2014/09/it-was-day-of-rakhi.html

For those, who haven’t read that story, may find it here:

http://rupeshgesota.blogspot.in/2014/09/it-was-day-of-rakhi.html

Soon I had to visit my sister’s place again, but this time for

*Ganpati darshan*. And I had no idea that I will again collide with these two young mathematicians, so soon. It was only after few minutes, that the same voice (but it was loud and insisting this time) fell into my ears --**“Maamaaa, today you have to teach me 7**

^{th}standard Maths!” And I was like........Bowled!
No doubt, as a Math teacher I am always alert, looking for such natural opportune moments to start theMath-talk, however to her, I gave a pat response – “What? Do I come here to teach you Maths?”

“Mama, plz teach na.....plzzzzzz...plzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...”

I was so much enjoying this desperation and was, in fact now, more desperate than her to kick off, but --- I again wore the devil’s hat -- “No, I am not going to teach you this time. I am sure you would have forgotten the 6

^{th}std. Maths that I taught you last time.”
“No...No.. I remember everything.”

“Oh, Really?”

“Yes, you can ask me.”

“Theek hai, Tell me what is 50-20?”

After a pause, “You did not teach me this way. We did

*smaller minus bigger*.”
With this proud feeling of achievement, I forge ahead – “Ok. I am happy you remember. So then tell me what is 20-50?”

“It’s Minus 30.... Simple!”

“Hmmm...That was easy. Now let me give you a difficult one. What is 17-30?”

She started moving her fingers and lips and watching this disappointed me a bit. You know, we had done a bit of Mental Math too that day, before signing off... But soon, I also found myself pacifying

*And while I was stoned into this looking-for-justification, a confident and loud voice brought me back into the moment.***‘how unjust of me to expect a 9-yr old to ‘remember, recall and use’ the strategies showed orally/casually to her in ‘just 10-15 minutes’, and that too after a gap of 20 days'.**
“Minus 13.”

“Oh, good. And how did you do that?”

“30-17=13...... So 17-30= -13.”

“Hmm... I get it. But how did you get 30-17? I saw you counting fingers. Remember, we did something interesting last time – Mental Math?”

‘Oh, Yes...Wait...Wait.... I will do by that method now.”

*And soon, after speaking to the wall and air for few seconds, she spoke to me and*

**even reasoned out beautifully and stole my heart “We want to remove 17 from 30. So, we first remove 10 from 30. This leaves 20. And 20-7 = 13.”**

**“But why 20-7?”**

**“Arrey, we have to remove 17 na? Not 10. So I removed 7 more.”**
“Oh, ok...ok... I got it. Shall I give you one more problem?”