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The race that was never lost

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please find an article beloe on the above subject appeared in the economics

times , mumbai edition of 23-3-2010




The race that was never lost





MANY years later,older and wiser now,the hare and the tortoise had become good

friends who would often meet of a weekend at the local pub to quaff the froth

while reminiscing their youth.One day,loaded with an ancient paradox,the hare

turned to his barstool mate and said,I know everyone thinks you won the race by

being slow and steady and all that guff but you do understand why I couldnt

catch up and overtake you after I woke up from my nap,dont you Tonguing a

whisker of foam off his upper lip the tortoise replied,I suppose because there

was an arbitrary finish line imposed which doesnt happen in real life,right

Wrong! said the hare.If there had been no finish line whatsoever I could still

never have overtaken you.Hell,I couldnt even have caught up with you. Seeing his

carapaced companions brow furrow in perplexity he continued,See the reason

is,the moment I reached the spot where you had been,you would have already moved

a little distance ahead in that time.Then when I had caught up with you once

more you would have moved a short distance in front again.And so on.Realising

classical mathematics had outdone me,I knew there was no way I could win.So I

gave up and a fable was born instead.

The tortoise looked at him thoughtfully over the rim of his supping vessel and

said,Okaaay.So what youre saying is that it takes all the running to stay in the

same place because motion is an illusion.But,your point is... The hare paused

before answering.Then taking a deep breath he blurted,To prove my logic that I

can never overtake you,all we have to do is have another race.

Agreed, said the tortoise,But on condition I get a head start and you dont fall

asleep.That still satisfies your logic doesnt it The hares eyes lit up.Done! he

exclaimed and they were off to the applause of the forest animals who had

gathered to witness the rerun.Within a few seconds the hare had overtaken his

sluggish opponent and was waiting with tears in his eyes at the finish line.

I dont get it,what went wrong he sobbed brokenly when the tortoise finally

reached.How come I lost again Gently leading his friend away to their favourite

watering hole,the tortoise said,Well,calculus has been invented since but more

importantly,sometimes (and here he quickly inserted a moral): it takes all the

thinking to stay in the same place.

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