The little boy and the floor tiles…

There is this sprawling space in the middle of the pilot plant. It has square tiles. Not so beautiful, I must say. Just ordinary tiles with an empty look. If you knew that the tiles were 30 cm by 30 cm you could calculate the area as 900 centimetre squared.


Of course children would love to play there and count the tiles. One such child, who was very clever, decided to count the tiles by walking up and down the hall. We shall call this child Omer Sherfa?

After a minute a two, he confidently bellows out the number 30. He gives a quick glance and realises that the breadth of this room must have 30 tiles too. Call it an intuition perhaps. That is what this lad has, for he is an immigrant, with no money to spare. But surprisingly he was very good in mathematics. Money is irrelevant in the counting of tiles for he was not going to be awarded for counting accurately. He could have also done it using linear approximations and saved the time of going up and down the hall. We will save that for later till he studies differential equations. I mean if he manages to pay the fees, unless he studies in a country where one studies for pleasure and not for a living.



With no schools to attend, his hobby consisted of making a count of dead, mutilated bodies, in the hazermadi plains where he hailed from. Cairo to be more precise, and he stayed in a camp for many years before we saw him in the paragraph above counting tiles. We will have to save the story how he got here from Cairo for a later time. It deserves to be mentioned.

Omer meticulously kept track of all the bodies. He had a notebook and a pencil. Do not ask me how he got them. He has them now and that’s what matters. He remembers that some days the frequency was higher than others. Perhaps it was malnutrition, dehydration or just sunstroke as the sun was indeed very strong in this plains where he lived.



Omer had a table for men, women, boy, girl and a fifth column for babies. He had seen the dead in cartloads. He was neither shaken nor drowned in tears after seeing several thousands of dead bodies. He was a very practical boy. He knew that if he gives the counts to the United Office, they will provide food and water to him. That’s what he wants. There is no room for emotions and all that side effects that cons people and turns them to take guns and kill. He has seen enough of that.


Oh, we almost forgot the tiles that we started off in the beginning.

Everyday countless number of researchers and professors criss cross the corridors. The tile yearns for some dance. A waltz perhaps? What a sight would be. Every dancer can now count the tiles with several taps on his/her feet. We must tell them to dance to the tunes of Ravel’s Bolero. Once it was shown in a school meeting and oh boy, everyone was truly flabbergasted, I must say.

With everyone glued on to their smartphones, the tiles had no one to look out for. Every week or so, pessoas limpeza clean the tiles with a polishing machine, and the tiles sport a smiling face, ready to forget the gloom that had bothered them.


The rain brings some respite. Million little droplets fall from the roof and bathe the tiles. The tiles play with the water molecules. One minute here and another minute there goeth the H2O molecule.

We will come back to the boy and the tiles very soon and hear what more they have to tell us. Till then, adieu, mon ami.

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