# Elder brother

(This story is being republished)

## Mr Elphinstone, I presume?

"Are you Mr Elphinstone?" The question surprised me. To be mistaken for Mr Elphinstone! That was indeed surprising. I am dark-skinned, of medium height by Indian standards, and regret to say that I have a personality which does not attract attention. In the midst of a crowd I shall certainly to go un-noticed; but even when standing apart from the crowd, I am more likely to be ignored. The name Elphinstone has an aristocratic ring to it: a name that stares at you mostly from history books. To tell you the truth, I therefore felt quite important to be mistaken for Elphinstone! I thought I had been unfair to myself all these years ..... I had un-necessarily blamed Nature for creating me in a hurry. No, I was wrong. I did, indeed, have an impressive personality!

(This story is being republished)

## There's a catch somewhere!

"I can prove that 1 = 2," my friend declared. Now, math has always been my weak spot, and I wasn't very keen on listening to his rambling. "I will give you a treat if you catch the error," he said. That caught my attention. My stomach is also my weak spot, and it always demands something or the other. "Okay, go ahead," I said. "Even with my poor knowledge of math I am sure I can detect any error if somebody tries to prove that 1 = 2," I said. "Let x = y," he began. I liked that; it was familiar ground. In class, the teacher always told us something of that kind. "But, remember that x is not equal to zero," he added. My friend went on to do some multiplication on both sides, subtraction, factorization, and division, and, indeed, came up with 1 = 2. I could see nothing wrong in any of the steps! But, of course, 1 cannot be equal to 2; there had to be a catch somewhere. Please help me find the error.

(This puzzle had been carried before and is being republished)

• Union Public Service Commission - www.upsc.gov.in
• IIT-Kharagpur - www.iitkgp.ac.in
• Indian Statistical Institute - www.isical.ac.in
• Indian Institute of Technology Madras - www.iitm.ac.in
• Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - www.iimahd.ernet.in
• Indian Institute of Mass Commission - www.iimc.nic.in
• IIT Bombay - www.iitb.ac.in