Math Concepts

How my mother became the Prime Minister of the Country?

If you keep annoying me, I'll give your phone number to all the kids and tell them it's Santa's hotline.



“Mom, what’s for dinner,” I asked. 

“Dinner? This is the Prime Minister, boy,” came the reply on the other end.

“Dude, this isn’t even April Fool’s Day. Who are you, and where is my mom?” I asked.

“What is this rubbish?” came the voice on the other end and hung up.

This may sound like the beginning of a bad mystery, but I swear it really happened to me.

I blamed it on all cell phones having five digits. 

A country of 1.2 billion people and five-digit mobile phone numbers! Imagine that.

To be fair, it started well. When the authorities decided that five-digit numbers would be the way to go, people rejoiced because it meant fewer digits to remember. It meant remembering a number without relying on saving the number in the phone’s address book.

Initially, few people had cell phones because it was deemed a device for the rich. But then cell phone technology became more accessible, and soon, everyone in India had a phone.

And that’s when the problem began.

With 1.2 billion people, there were only 1,00,000 ways in which a five-digit number could be combined. This meant that instead of calling my mother, I ended up calling the Prime Minister on his personal number. 

It appears that I wasn’t the only one who made such calls to the prime minister. A newspaper story a few days later revealed how several government officials received calls right from buying coriander from the market to asking for dating advice.

It was then that we realised that a five-digit mobile number was becoming problematic.

And then someone had a brainwave. This person in the telecommunications office then suggested that mobile phones have 10-digit numbers. This meant that there were 10 billion combinations in which a population of 1.2 billion cell phone users could have a back-up of 9 billion combinations in case something went wrong.

The Prime Minister, along with his council of ministers, signed the 10-digit mobile number order immediately. Even the Opposition that usually opposed every bill that was passed decided to not act like an opposition and welcomed the move to have a 10-digit number combination.

While the move is convenient and a welcome one, I lament that I can no longer call the prime minister to ask him to make dinner for me.

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