No Free Nothing

Double Negative there, but that don't make it no more positive
It's monsoon again, as is obvious from my drowsy-sleepy-lethargic state of mind, which in turn, is obvious in this post. Also by the sea of black umbrellas that dot the picturescape of NITK.
I lost my black umbrella. I didn't find it mainly coz I couldn't describe it [I was so very attached to it, I was afraid my description would be biased in favour of the smooth silky black octagon, with not one rib missing, not one pin out of place… you get the picture].
And the lethargy that spreads along with other epidemics during the rains got to me, and made me too lazy to get a new one. And getting over the old one was bad enough, without having to worry about a new one. I remained umbrella-less. Until recently.
'Recently' was a week back, when I noticed a silver-black umbrella outside my room. It'd been there for more than a week then, and I had been eyeing it since the day someone carelessly plonked it on the corridor.
So mine it became. Who'd want to abandon a big, comfy umbrella like this one, I wondered. I even considered putting up a notice, but then I'd started to like this one. For once, something was going right, sans strings attached.
Monday morning. Downpour yet again. On other days, I'd be huddling with someone else under their anti-rain gear, but this time, it was Different. Yes it was.
I took My Umbrella and started off to class. Reached the Main building all dry.
I had to fold the parasol before entering through the narrow door. Which I tried to. And, with some difficulty, did.
Suddenly, I realized I'd forgotten my notes and stepped back to open the umbrella. Open, it did, but its components flew in three different directions: the octagonal cloth going forwards before crashing on the wall, the narrow rod narrowly missing the girl next to me, and the handle which, following N3L, rebounded in my palm, causing me some agony.
Some loser couldn't handle an umbrella and abandoned it on a corridor, causing someone else a morning of embarassment and agony.
Long ago, I'd read 'You Can Win' by Shiv Khera, where I found this among his many idiotic 'illustrative' stories:
'Once there was a king. He called all the scholars of his kingdom, and asked them to compile all the wisdom gathered through the ages. They worked for days on end, and came up with a large sheaf of scrolls.
The king found this too long to comfortably read, and asked them to contract it. It came to a thick book.
The king found this still too long to read, coz he'd given up reading in favor of more kingly pursuits, and asked them to compress it further. It came down to a thin book.
At this point, it transpires that the king was dyslexic, and the pundits were asked to compress the contents further.
It came down to a page, which was, as you guessed, asked to be compressed further, and they came up with a single sentence.
Which was "THERE IS NO FREE LUNCH".No free anti-rain gear either.

The story is on the borders of idiocy, but I felt the same agony while the umbrella split into three as I did when reading the story. I picked the pieces up, reassembled them, and carried the contraption to another corridor and left it there.
When I came back that way an hour later, the umbrella wasn't there any more. Finders Weepers? You betcha!
Aside: Karthik Narayan sends me his analysis of why umbrellas are octagonal. Kudos to this guy for being inquisitive enough to actually derive all this stuff.

"We are going to determine the polygon which suites the position of an umbrella the best(including the cost factor)..the last part is a bit vague and common sensical..anyways..

Consider that we are talking about a fixed circle say with a radius of 1m..inside which a general polygon of n sides is inscibed..firstly,we remove the odd sided polygons due to lack of symmetry.(to look good..!!).
so then we have n=2,4,6,8,10….the area of the polygon is clearly
A = n/2 * sin(2*pi/n)
Now the cost factor..notice that the area of the circle is pi..and for most of the polygons, the cost due to the cloth ain't an issue..(the cost for clothing a 45 sided and 90 sided would almost be same..).but the cost mainly lies in the rods(or spikes) which require to be put to hold the, this causes a significant difference..assume that the cost of a rod is Rs 20 per the cost for a n sided polygon is..
C = 20*n
..(cost difference between a 45 sided and 90 sided will get to 900 bucks..!!).
Now, I evaluated the the above two for n=4,6,8,10…and I've put the area of the polygon as a percentage of the circle's area(A/pi *100)..And i give you a choice to buy any one..tell me..which on will you choose..?

4 sided : Area : 63 % Cost : Rs 80
6 sided: Area : 82 % Cost : Rs 120
8 sided: Area: 90 % Cost : Rs 160
10 sided: Area: 93 % Cost : Rs 200
12 sided: Area: 95 % Cost : Rs 240.
……….so on…
20 sided: Area: 98% Cost: Rs 400..!

If I was asked to choose, I would take the 8 sided one..obvious,it seems the most advantageous taking the cost and area..hmmm..what say..?

About wanderlust

just your average books-and-music person who wants to change the world.
This entry was posted in Attempts at Humour, Life at NITK, Priya's Travails. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to No Free Nothing

  1. rohitramgiri says:

    I ain’t got nothing to say!!

    this was a good piece
    landed here thru sanjay’s blogs
    will bookmark you (attaboy!!)

    so that i can keep coming back!!!
    au revoir

  2. karthik says:

    Hmm..Nice analysis there..!Hee..

  3. Anonymous says:


  4. Priya says:

    sorry for due credit not being give! tech glitch there… neways, i’ve put your name in,,,
    r u the same gandhi-hater?

  5. karthik says:

    Hey..I was jus jokin..! anyways, nice..U’ve put my name in there..! and yes, about bunking classes, there are certain ones that I bunk where I am clueless about the proceedings in class(like Bio or something..)where I don’t give a damn..and the other case where I do know what’s going on, but I feel its a waste of time either the prof isn’t good, or it’s toooo boring..both the incidents in my post are in the former cat..

  6. Anonymous says:

    yes…still the same…koi shak???

  7. “Rainy days and Mondays always get me down…”
    For your sake, Pri, I hope there won’t be any more nasty s’kal showers…

  8. Shashi Iyer says:

    great, as usual priya πŸ™‚

  9. Hey….awesome post!!!
    Thanks for linking me up!

  10. Shashi Iyer says:

    anon arent u gonna baptise yourself??

  11. Shashi Iyer says:

    anither comment priya! STOP CALLING YOUR POSTS BORING AND STUPID! now dont sit and find synonyms i havent heard of πŸ™‚

  12. Priya says:

    what do you mean ‘baptize’? elaborate.

  13. Shashi Iyer says:

    i thot baptise means getting christened (?)… may be (s)he could give himself an indentity, not necessarily ‘his’ identity.

  14. Anonymous says:


  15. Priya says:

    i think christen is a much better word in that context. and yeah, we’re still dying to know the identity of the unknown commentor… by any chance do you happen to be known as subbu?

  16. NOTY TONY says:

    2 articles n i feel so dumb i wonder y im not an nitk numbskull(am a proud NITWit though!!) neways this is the kinda stuff tht shud b done more often gr8 goin peeps..n whoever derived tht crazy thing well done mate..u mite actually wanna meet my buddy here who determined the best angle between the feet(for maxm stability) when a person is standin to attention!!hw abt a NITWit-numbskull joint venture??

  17. Anonymous says:

    You are bored, aren’t you?!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s