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Fail

This is a picture of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore This is a poor translation of "Fail", a story by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. The objective is to exhort readers to read the original story in Bengali or better translations. The story deals with the negative emotion of jealousy, but tackles the subject using humour.

There was a rift in the Haldar family long ago, and subsequent generations have followed in the same vein; the rift has remained unhealed. Nalin and Nondo are the present generation representatives of the breakaway groups. As a child, Nalin was raised by his father very strictly; the boy was made to study all day and his childish desires were crushed. Nondo's parents, on the other hand, were lenient. Despite studying all day, Nalin regularly failed his exams. Nondo excelled in studies and won prizes. Perhaps, one takeaway from the story is that strict parenting may not be a good thing.

A boy, who is made to study the whole day and whose desires are crushed, is likely to feel jealous of a boy whose parents are lenient and who excels in studies. This was the case with Nalin also. He was jealous of Nondo. That was the reason why even after the boys grew into young men, Nalin wished to outdo Nondo in other aspects of life. This meant he should have the best of everything. His wife should be more beautiful than Nondo's! But this tendency to always have the best also makes one feel that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. That can be disastrous!

(This story is being republished)

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Reformer Reformed!

Funny picture of dog wearing a hat It was Monday, the start of another week. After enjoying two days at home I had to return to the metropolis where I worked. I savoured the three-hour bus ride on the expressway. On reaching the metropolis, I hailed an autorickshaw to take me to my office. It was only a 20-minute ride.

I had a nagging suspicion that the auto driver was taking me for a ride. I had been in the metropolis for six months since my company transferred me here. I always visited my hometown on weekends. On Mondays, I took an early bus to reach the bus station at the metropolis and from there an auto to my office. The fare was around 80 rupees. I had become quite accustomed to these journeys, and had become quite familiar with the surroundings.

But the auto driver was driving on a road which was unfamiliar and the surroundings did not strike any chord. Maybe he is following a shorter route, I thought to myself. En route, the auto driver pointed out landmarks of the city as though he were a travel guide. He had recognized I was a stranger in these parts - these auto drivers have an uncanny knack of recognizing strangers from natives.

(This story is being republished)

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Going Reverse!

This is a math puzzle Mohan was scribbling random four-digit numbers and multiplying them by 9. One particular four-digit number caught his attention. When he multiplied this number by 9, the result was again a four-digit number; curiously, the resulting number was reverse of the original number.

So, suppose the original number was xyzw (x, y, z, w are not necessarily distinct), then upon multiplying xyzw by 9, the resulting number is wzyx. Can you find the four-digit number which when multiplied by 9 yields a four-digit number as the result, and which is the reverse of the original number?

(This puzzle is being republished)

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