Math Concepts

How my mother became the Prime Minister of the Country?

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

Anonymous

 

“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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