Neither mathematics is my cup of tea, nor am I a number cruncher.  In fact I used to be awestruck when my math teacher used to solve the most difficult of the sums (taking the ‘assumption’) within a jiffy.  My marks in Mathematics used to hover just above the lifeline.  But of late, I have developed a penchant for vehicle registration numbers, which vary from single digit to four digit numbers. The numbers given by the transport authorities made me cultivate a magnetic interest for math.

I have observed that some numbers are random like 4019 and some have a particular rhyme and rhythm.  For example take this number-8642.  All the digits are multiples of two and also each digit from the beginning is two less than the next digit. Then there is this number-5554.  The numbers fifty five and fifty four are in descending order. Some numbers have progressive odd digits like 3579.  Likewise we see progressive even digits. Yet some numbers show multiples of three like 0369.  The registration number 1011 shows numbers ten and eleven in ascending order.  2121 shows repetition of the number twenty one.  The number 1248 is interesting because twelve fours are forty-eight.  Not only this, the digit one when doubled is two, two when doubled is four and four when doubled is eight.

Then there is this one-9449.  Whether you read this number from left to right or vice-versa the number remains the same. The number 1967 most probably denotes the birth year of the person driving. A certain community people prefer their car numbers to end in 77, like 3977, etc. There are other custom made numbers, which appease the lucky stars. In the number 1691, the mirror image of the number 16 when held upside down gives 91!   Similar is the case with the number 6009. In the number 6969 both the nines are the upside down mirror image of the number six. If the math wizard Shakuntala Devi had been alive, she would have worked many more magic with these numbers.

On a Sunday, while waiting at a signal, as is my tendency, I read the car number ahead of me and told my hubby that the car was of his colleague’s. A call made to his colleague’s mobile validated that we were indeed trailing him. His family members waved their hands from inside their car. 

It pays to remember the numbers of the vehicles which we bump into everyday. They may not be people of acquaintance always, but if it is a fidgety driver then if we give the advantage of overhauling to the restless friend, it eases the creases on our forehead. I can remember the car-numbers of the cars driven by ladies effortlessly and I feel euphoric that ladies are progressing in leaps and bounds. We can also pull our friends’ leg, if we happen to spot his/her car somewhere.
Because my memory is limited to four digits I can be of some help to the cops in nabbing the law/rule breaking culprits by noting their car numbers.   Mobile phone companies can easily do away with the long ten digit numbers and as well opt for a 4-digit number.  I wonder why I did not develop this math-craze before; it could have changed my life forever.

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