After entering, I saw an Old man in his late 60’s sitting inside the classroom. It was Measure Theory class. “Mathematics is a young man’s game”-writes G.H.Hardy in his book “A mathematician’s Apology”. I dwell upon these words for some seconds. During the introduction, he said that he was not supported by the department and he paid his own tuition fees (which is a lot in America). “I always wanted to learn Mathematics. My responsibilities prevented me from doing so when I was young. But Here I am pursuing my dream”. He stated further.
We let so many things die within us, when we are young and full of life. I come across people who are passionate about something and yet do something else and are sad from inside. I am not mocking any of you. We have always wanted a sense of security in our lives. We have always gone by the book, following the societal norms, which dictate the pursuit of certain paths, to ensure the presence of stability. More often than not, we end up doing something rather different, than what we wanted to, when we started off. We become someone else, who we even don’t recognize.
I never had the opportunity to converse with him. After a week, he handed everyone a piece of paper, which stated his willingness to form a study group to learn the subject. I didn’t join his group. Perhaps no one did. I solved problems with other students. Measure theory can be intimidating, when encountered for the first time. It can be mastered, like everything else in this world, by staying with it all the time. In an academic framework, it is difficult for a student to give his/her every bit of focus to one subject. Similarly, the professor cannot attend the needs of all the students in the class.
We give up all the time. It is the easiest thing to do. We are escapists!! Sometimes we reason it to our age and sometimes to something else like “not good enough to do it”. How hard can it be?? It cannot be harder than holding a pen, at an age,when people in my country hold their grandchildren, thinking about symbols,definitions and names, which have no resemblance to the mortal world and finding out a set which is Lebesgue measurable but not Borel measurable. Don’t sit in your homes and watch yourself kill your own dreams. Act while you are alive!!
I never saw him in the class after three weeks. He went back to fix his prerequisite for sure. We all seek appreciation. He doesn’t care about about awards and citations. So shouldn’t we. To hell with Mr Hardy-I thought. He follows his passion everyday. I am hopeful of taking a course together sometime and when I do, I will join his group. It will be enriching.Age is just a number for him. What about you??