A few Good People

1 Apr

Have you ever thought how many people you have interacted with since you were born. From school, college, work, people who you meet in your building , gym, at the club ….. I am sure that number would run into thousands. Hold that thought for a minute.

Most people take pride in saying I am a self made man (or woman). Are you? Its always good to reflect back and ponder on what were the key drivers that helped you keep moving in life. What/who contributed to your success. And if you let your ego to go to sleep you can actually identify a set of key people who helped you to get to where you are.

On a flight back I reflected and listed down all the people who were pathfinders and crucial to my success, growth and development. I realised that of the thousands I have interacted with its a handful of people who have helped me so much and contributed to my success – I was able to list 50 people. And it took me just a few minutes to list them down – so profound has been their contribution. These are truly my friends, philosophers, guides, soulmates. Most I have interacted with, some so powerful that they influence you merely with their thoughts and words.

They are my teachers , my friends, my class mates , my colleagues. The manager who gave me my first job , the manager who made me cry but taught me so much, the angry manager, the patient manager, the brilliant manager, the depth manager, the span manager. My team mates – and I have been blessed to have amazing people as team members wherever I have worked. Competent, hard working, sincere, truthful, people – great professionals but more importantly good human beings. You can never enjoy your work  without good managers and a great team. So thank you guys – without you I wouldn’t be where I am.

Of all the wonderful teachers a few stand out – the Chemistry and Match Tutor from Class 11/12 , the Professor at College who saved me from rustication during the Mandal days – great teachers but also very good people.

The room mates to who I owe my engineering degree. The patient colleague who taught me the basics of a PC architecture and Ethernet & ArcNet. The friend who helped me move to US and settled me down. The customer in the DC suburb of Chantilly – who on a cold wintery day trusted me with a million dollar contract that got me started in a new country, and the hard working project managers who exceeded expectations. The pre-sales colleague with who I worked shoulder to shoulder many a late night navigating around bureaucracy and Delhi politics –  trying to crack the  massive  tenders at BSNL & MTNL.

The visionary leaders at Wipro, Sun & Apple – I owe so much to these companies and their leaders where I have spent over 90% of my career.

The service partners – the maverick marketing strategist who explained that a Brand is an Asset and taught me more about Marketing than what I could have learnt in an MBA. A friendly and helpful design agency owner, a hard working vendor who helped me deliver on a very complicated Strategic Brand project at a fraction of the normal budget.

The Yoga teacher who initiated me and taught me the basics, the spiritual thinkers who have shaped my thinking over the last 5 years and how can I forget the altar and the god of the 7 hills who has never disappointed me with any ask I have made when in crisis. The spinning instructor with the cult following who got me addicted to the Gym. Each one of them contributed and made my journey enjoyable and nourishing.

My drinking buddies and building friends  and of course my family who were always by my side. My parents who always stretched to give us the best, my siblings who pushed me and helped me – always wanting me to be the best and my wife and children who have always been by my side – as I transformed from an acerbic angry young workaholic to a slightly more calmer version.

Its finally Kudos to a set of 50 amazing people. Thats it – these are the people to who I owe it all. I would not be where I am without their help and guidance. They gave me the right breaks, they had confidence on me , they helped me at every stage in life. These are 50 people with who I connected. Thats magical – think of it just 50 people.

If any CEO can hire these 50 people – he is assured of success. You can’t find a team of more capable, competent, achievers  than them. I have been lucky to have worked with them and be associated with them.

And as I look back on the years passed by I can only say a big Thank You to each one of them. Maybe I should try and get all of them together in one place – the positive energy created by such a group will indeed create a halo around the room. Lets hope that day comes soon.

Poster Print

I got Dileepan my design agency friend to make a Thank You poster for me. I now have this poster in my bedroom. That way the memories stay with me all the time.

I would urge each of you to do this exercise – its a therapy to look back and reflect on those who contributed to your life.

Understanding Creativity

27 Mar

This ROOT-WORD of Creativity is  CREA which comes from the Latin creare which means to CREATE.  Once you know the meaning of the root its easy to figure out what other words having this root mean.

Here are some words using the same root ,  Creant : CREA nt (kree’ ant) adj. Creating; having the urge to create. Create : CREA te (kree ate’) v. Bring into existence; produce; as, create a song, Creation : CREA tion (kree ay’ shun) n. The act of creating. Creative : CREA tive (kree ate’ iv) adj. Having the power to produce; as, creative ability. Creator : CREA tor (kree ate’ or) n. One who creates; maker. Creature : CREA ture (kree’ chur) n. Anything created; a creation. Re-create : re CREA te (re kree ate’) v. Bring to existence again; refresh; revive. Recreation : re CREA tion (rek ree ay’ shun) n. The act of refreshing; renewal by food, exercise, or rest

So whats the advantage of being Creative ? Find me a person who says I don’t want to be Creative ? This is one skill that can help you in your life at every stage. Most successful people are very Creative. And I am sure everyone wants top be happy & successful.

The first feeling is that  Creativity is associated with Inventions and discoveries and you are normally born with it. But Creativity like any subject is a Skill and can be developed by everyone. As the legendary Steve Jobs explains – Creativity is not about NEW , its actually about connecting your experiences and the things you see around you.

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Lets look at some examples that explain the above point.

The Strolley  looks like an amazing invention , so useful , so easy – no need for carrying a heavy suitcase , no need for a porter – A Strolley is nothing but a Baby Stroller & the Station Trolley put together – 4 wheels and a handle – that transforms the bulky suitcase to a convenient strolley – It was an idea for everyone to see but someone connected the dots and Voila a Creative output happened.

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There are numerous examples similar to this  – the Container Terminal is one. Earlier it used to take months to load a ship . Goods were shipped “break-bulk”; that is, in individual sacks, barrels, and crates, each individually loaded and unloaded by armies of workmen. This was very costly in terms of the time and labour involved, before even taking into account all that was lost or stolen along the way. In 1956 The shipping container, and the dockside cranes that came with it, eliminated this altogether. It brought about a highly automated process that reduced the cost to ship freight dramatically. As the container became intermodal, it was easily transferred from boat to train to truck in a seamless process, without the need for unloading and reloading.

This again was a simple invention made by Malcom McLean an American Transport Entrepreneur. Some Say that the invention of Containers helped the Global economy to grow by a few % points.

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Look at the Kitchen – and see how creative you can be in making new dishes by just mixing up ingredients that are lying around. Fanta and Ice Cream – gets you Orange Pop Soda, Left over Maggi packed in bread dipped in dosa batter and fried gets you amazing pakodas. You can create so many amazing fusion dishes in the kitchen just by playing around with ingredients around you. Look at the “Pan Shop” – see the amazing varieties of Pan’s he can create with just a Betel leaf and a few common ingredients.

There are many such examples but one common theme across all of them is CURIOSITY.  Curiosity is the Trigger to Creativity. You need to ask Questions , dig deeper, explore , try  and  then the dots begin to connect.

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As the great scientist Einstein himself remarked

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So lets summarise the two points 

1. We all want to be Creative

2. To be Creative you need to be Curious

We’re all creative by heart. It just so happens that some people are better at expressing it than others.

So here are some tips on how to develop your Creativity

1. Get out of the rut – if you are stuck , start afresh. Visit a painting exhibition or a museum or just walk in the park early morning. Get some new perspectives. New Surroundings help.

2. Meet and interact with diverse people – don’t stick to the same small group of few friends. Try mixing with people half your age , spend time with children , spend time with people from a totally different profession etc.

3. Be passionate about what you do – love your job or whatever you are working on. Be totally immersed in it.

4. Stay healthy and brisk – too much sleep or too little sleep can affect your Creativity. Avoid food that makes you sluggish. Don’t be a couch potato.

5. Keep your mind active – don’t waste time watching boring serials or reading the same book. Try some puzzles, tricks etc – give some constant exercise to your Brain. Creativity is like a muscle the more you exercise it the more active it gets.

6. Stay Positive – don’t get Cynical – Don’t Crib and complain and nag.

7. Use Counterfactual Thinking – Counterfactual thinking, also known as asking, “What might have been?” has been shown to increase creativity for short periods of time. To experiment with this technique, take events that have already happened and re-imagine different outcomes, alternating between the subtractive mindset (taking elements out of the event) and the additive mindset (adding elements into the event).

A silly example of counterfactual thinking in action can be seen on The Big Bang Theory, when one of the main characters makes a game of the phenomenon, asking his roommate: “In a world where Rhinoceroses are domesticated pets, who wins the Second World War?” You, however, can apply it to more realistic scenarios, such as mapping out outcomes whenever you are doing creative problem solving, subtracting or adding “what if” elements that would have affected the outcome.

These are simple techniques but practise them in your day to day life and you will see your Creativity sharpening and improving

Hey Dad Let’s Talk – 7

6 Mar

Hey Dad – Let’s Talk is a series of activities that allows Dad’s to spend time and bond with their kids. They include a variety of Creative activities from Riddles, Puzzles, Information Tit Bits, Trivia, Quiz, stories etc. Activities that you can discuss, stuff that is interesting and exploratory. Each activity should take 20 – 30 minutes and the best time to spend time with your kids is before you tuck them to Bed.

This session is on 20  Riddles – some very easy some a little tricky – have Fun!

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1. I get dirty in about 5 days but it takes half an hour to clean me. It takes a long time for me to be tall but I can be short in about 2 seconds what am I ?

2.You can feel me but you can’t touch me You can give me but you can’t take me What am I ?

3. One night a man and woman go on the boat. The man and woman got off. Who was left ?

4. I am unseen but all people know of me. I am intangible yet sharper than any sword. I come from nothingness but can fell even the mightiest kings.

5.When I was 2 years old, my brother was half my age. Now I am 100 years old, how old is my brother?

6.Imagine your in a sinking boat and there is alligators trying to eat you. How do you save yourself?

7. A monkey, a squirrel, and a bird are racing to the top of a coconut tree. Who will get the banana first, the monkey, the squirrel, or the bird?

8.Which eight-letter word still remains a word after removing each letter from it?

9. There are two  words in the English language that end with the letters ‘g’, ‘r’, and ‘y’.

10. If you have me, you want to share me. If you share me, you haven’t got me. What am I?

11. What gets broken without being held?

12. Which triangle will have a larger perimeter : 3,4,5 or 3,4,7 ?

13. There are 50 crows on a wire, a hunter shoots and kills three. How many are there left on the wire?

14.What has 6 wheels and flies?

15. A butcher named butch is 6 feet tall and has size 12 shoes. What does he weigh?

16.

I sizzle like bacon, I’m made with an egg.
I have plenty of backbone, but not a good leg.
I peel layers like an onion, but still remain whole.
I can be long like a flagpole, yet I fit in a hole.

What am I?

17.

It takes one word to separate them; otherwise they are inseparable.

What are they?

18. What always goes to bed with its shoes on?

19. Question: Little Johnny’s teacher asks him, “If I gave you two cats, then two more, and two more cats; how many would you have?”

Little Johnny replies, “Seven!”

His teacher asks him again more slowly, “If I gave you two cats, then two more, and two more cats; how many would you have?”

But again Little Johnny replies, “Seven!”

Next she asks, “If I get two cats, then two more, and two more cats; how many would I have?”

Little Johnny replies, “Six!”

“Good Job Johnny! Now if I gave you two cats, then two more, and two more cats; how many would you have?”

Johnny thinks for a second, “Seven.”

But Johnny is not wrong. Why?

20. What English word is always spelled incorrectly ?

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Answers

1.  Hair

2. Love

3. One Knight

4.  Hunger

5. Ninety Nine

6. Stop Imagining

7.  None – Coconut trees have no Bananas

8. STARTING: Starting-Staring-String-Sting-Sing-Sin-In-I.

9. “hungry” and “angry.”

10. A  Secret

11.  A Promise

12.  3,4,5 – You cannot construct a Triangle with sides of length 3,4,7

13. None

14.  A Garbage Truck

15.  Meat

16. A Snake

17.  Lips

18.  Horse

19. Answer – He already has one Cat

20. Incorrectly

 

 

A visit to Mughal Gardens – Rashtrapati Bhawan

28 Feb

I love visiting well maintained big spread out gardens. After the magnificent gardens in Srinagar, the beautiful Botanical Parks in Ooty & St Louis, The Lalbagh of the past and many more  – one garden on my must visit list for long was the Mughal Garden at Rashtrapati Bhawan. I did visit this on 27th Feb and would strongly recommend a visit to this beautiful well maintained diverse garden. Here are some details that can help visitors

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The Mughal gardens are open to the public in the month of February-March every year and specific dates, times are announced every year. Visitors are allowed entry to the garden on all days except Mondays. Timing is from 10 AM to 4 PM. The gardens may remain closed on other days also in case of a function in the Mughal gardens or during the visit of a VVIP during the said period. The dates are made known to the public through various media. The entry and exit into the gardens is regulated from Gate No. 35 of the President’s Estate, which is located near the North Avenue, at the western end of the Church Road. On an average over 5 Lac visitors the Garden every season – weekends are jammed , and its always better to go during weekdays.

There is no entry charge, no way to reserve a ticket –  and you walk past two levels of security. The male / female Q’s are separate and you meet at the entry of the garden. No bags / purses / cameras / Food Items are allowed – all you can take with you is your cell phone & wallet. We left our stuff in the car – but they have places to deposit if you came by public transport.

The entire trip is a walk thru – takes about 60 minutes. You cannot sit down on the grass or have a picnic – keep walking or stand for a few minutes to admire the beauty. There are restrooms , and water facility available at a few points along the trail.

You start with the the large Herbal Garden which has every herb you can think of and then reach the Bonsai Garden. A few hundred Bonsai Plants on steps.

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You walk past a few shady Banyan Trees and then reach a musical fountain before entering the main garden. This is designed a bit like the Taj with two waterways with fountains along the centre. Extremely well maintained the Garden is a treat to watch. Well manicured gardens , flowers in every shape and colour its a treat for your eyes.

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You walk along the big rectangular patch of a green garden Trail that  takes you very close to the Rashtrapati Bhavan and then make a turn. The photo below shows how close you can be to the Presidents House.

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As you head back past the Main Gardens you reach the Rose Gardens. You walk past a central walkway with rose gardens on both sides. The garden has more than 250 celebrated varieties of roses, which makes it one of the best Rose Gardens in the world. It has roses like Bonne Nuit, Oklahoma which are nearest to being black. In blues it has Paradise, Blue Moon, Lady X. We also have the rare green rose.  The list is endless and the spectacle delightful.

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Just after the Rose Garden is another magical sight awaiting you – the sunk butterfly garden that is a riot of with a beautiful round sunk fountain in the centre. The walls of this sunk masterpiece are adorned with bright orange hanging flowers. 

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The last stop is the Spiritual Garden which has every tree that is mentioned in the Spiritual books of all religions. Would have loved to sit here early morning and meditate but that was not to be.

The Spiritual Garden is the last stop and then you head back to the exit. It took us 50 min – it was not empty and the Trail was full ( But not jammed) – I would say about 500 – 1000 people on a Friday late afternoon. Lots of Tourist buses and school kids. The splendour of places like this go up when its empty and calm and you can relax quietly ( Thats why I like the Badami Bag at Srinagar so much ) – but asking for this in New Delhi is high expectations.

I am glad we could make it – Friends who have tried to come on a weekend have been disappointed with the massive crowds and have had to head back. Today is Feb 28th – you still have two weeks to try it and catch this Garden Visit in 2015 – so plan for it.

Understand that there is a way to get online registration and visit the Rashtrapati Bhawan interiors for a guided tour – thats next on my plan.

Some More Photos (All photos shot on my amazing iPhone 6)

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Hey Dad Let’s Talk – 6

27 Feb

Hey Dad – Let’s Talk is a series of activities that allows Dad’s to spend time and bond with their kids. They include a variety of Creative activities from Riddles, Puzzles, Information Tit Bits, Trivia, Quiz, stories etc. Activities that you can discuss, stuff that is interesting and exploratory. Each activity should take 20 – 30 minutes and the best time to spend time with your kids is before you tuck them to Bed.

This session is on 20  Riddles – some very easy some a little tricky – have Fun!

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1. Is an older one-hundred Rupee note worth more than a newer one?

2. There are two sisters: one gives birth to the other and she, in turn, gives birth to the first. Who are the two sisters?

3. What building has the most stories?

4. Railroad Crossing without any cars. Can you spell that without any R’s

5. Without fingers – I point,without arms – I strike, without feet – I run. What am I?

6 Thirty men and only two women, but they hold the most power. Dressed in black and white, they could fight for hours. Who are they

7. No matter how terrible things get for the people of the Arctic, they will not eat a penguin. Even if they are starving ( People living in Arctic are not vegetarians and eat all sorts of meat) Why not?

8. A truck driver is going opposite traffic on a one-way street. A police officer sees him but doesn’t stop him.Why didn’t the police officer stop him?

9. In a pond there are some flowers with some bees hovering over the flowers. How many flowers and bees are there if both the following statements are true: 1. If each bee lands on a flower, one bee doesn’t get a flower. 2. If two bees share each flower there is one flower left out.

10. I’m in everybody but everybody still wants me.I won’t feed you but I’ll feed the tree.What am I?

11. You are awoken at 3 A.M. by a knock on your door. Your parents call you to let you know that they are there for breakfast. You are confused but quickly think of what food you have. You have bread, jam, butter, and eggs. What do you open first?

12. Which is correct  “The yolk of the egg is white” or “The egg yolk is white?”

13. How do you make the number one disappear by adding to it?

14. I am the beginning of the end, the end of every place. I am the beginning of eternity, the end of time and space. What am I?

15. What number do you get when you multiply all of the numbers on a telephone’s number pad?

16. A man is sitting in his cabin in Chennai. 3 hours later he gets out of his cabin in New Delhi. How is this possible?

17. If a white house is white and a yellow house is yellow, what color is a green house?

18. I go up and I go down, towards the sky and the ground.I’m present and past tense too,Let’s go for a ride, me and you. What am I?

19. Can you name three consecutive days without using the words Wednesday, Friday, or Sunday?

20. Timmy’s mother has three children. The first was named April. The next was named May. What is the final one’s name?

 

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Answers

1.  Yes – Its 100 Rs the other is 1 Rs

2. Day & Night

3. Library

4. THAT

5.  A Clock

6 Chess Pieces

7. Penguins Live in the Antarctic

8. Truck Driver is walking

9. There are 4 Bees & 3 Flowers

10. Water

11. The Door

12. Neither – the Egg Yolk is Yellow

13. Add the letter G – then its Gone

14. The letter E

15. The number Zero

16. He is a Pilot

17. Colourless – its made of Glass

18. A See Saw

19. Yesterday , Today & Tomorrow

20. Timmy

Hey Dad Let’s Talk – 5

23 Feb

Hey Dad – Let’s Talk is a series of activities that allows Dad’s to spend time and bond with their kids. They include a variety of Creative activities from Riddles, Puzzles, Information Tit Bits, Trivia, Quiz, stories etc. Activities that you can discuss, stuff that is interesting and exploratory. Each activity should take 20 – 30 minutes and the best time to spend time with your kids is before you tuck them to Bed.

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Try this with your kids at the next Birthday Party. Give them a newspaper and ask them to fold it 8 times. They will struggle after folding it 2 or 3 times

The myth: You can’t fold a paper in half more than eight times.* The reality: Given a paper large enough—and enough energy—you can fold it as many times as you want. The problem: If you fold it 103 times, the thickness of your paper will be larger than the observable Universe: 93 billion light-years. Seriously.

How can a 0.0039-inch-thick paper get to be as thick as the Universe?

  • The answer is simple: Exponential growth. The average paper thickness in 1/10th of a millimeter (0.0039 inches.) If you perfectly fold the paper in half, you will double its thickness. Things get interesting quickly.
  • Folding the paper in half a third time will get you about the thickness of a nail.
  • Seven folds will be about the thickness of a notebook of 128 pages.
  • 10 folds and the paper will be about the width of a hand.
  • 23 folds will get you to one kilometer—3,280 feet.
  • 30 folds will get you to space. Your paper will be now 100 kilometers high.
  • Keep folding it. 42 folds will get you to the Moon. With 51 you will burn in the Sun.
  • Now fast forward to 81 folds and your paper will be 127,786 light-years, almost as thick as the Andromeda Galaxy, estimated at 141,000 light-years across.
  • 90 folds will make your paper 130.8 million light-years across, bigger than the Virgo Supercluster, estimated at 110 million light-years. The Virgo Supercluster contains the Local Galactic Group—with Andromeda and our own Milky Way—and about 100 other galaxy groups.
  • And finally, at 103 folds, you will get outside of the observable Universe, which is estimated at 93 billion light-years in diameters. 

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High school student Britney Gallivan dispelled the popular myth by resolving the mathematics and successfully folding a single roll of toilet paper twelve times in a record-breaking feat.

And the current record was created by some high school students. The biggest times is 13 times.

It may look like a prank but these mathematics students from St. Mark’s School in Southborough, Massachusetts aren’t toilet papering the famed infinite corridor at MIT. Using intricate choreography and brute force, they’re breaking a paper-folding record by completing 13 folds, a challenge that students at the school have been tackling for seven years with the help of teacher James Tanton.

 

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Hey Dad Let’s Talk – 4

19 Feb

Hey Dad – Let’s Talk is a series that allows Dad’s to spend time and bond with their kids. They include a variety of Creative activities from Riddles, Puzzles, Information Tit Bits, Trivia, Quiz, stories etc. Activities that you can discuss, stuff that is interesting and exploratory. Each activity should take 20 – 30 minutes and the best time to spend time with your kids is before you tuck them to Bed. 

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This edition is based on Puzzles with Shapes. Arm yourself with a box of match sticks sit down on the floor and get started. One puzzle may require some coins. The answers are below the last question.

 

1. You see 5 equal squares, Can you leave just 3 squares by taking away 3 sticks

 

sticking_away_squares1

 

2. Here are 6 equal squares, can you leave just 3 squares by taking away 5 Sticks

 sticking_away_squares2

 

3. Can you leave only 2 complete squares by taking away two sticks from pattern below.

 

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4. Thirteen sticks from 8 triangles ( 6 small and 2 large ones) can you take away 3 sticks and leave only 3 triangles

 

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5. Can you rearrange the 5 sticks to make 2 equal triangles

 

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6. These ten copings form a Triangle pointed upwards – Move only 3 coins in a manner that the Triangle points downwards.

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7. These 15 sticks form a spiral, can you turn this spiral to two squares by moving 3 sticks.

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8. Can you draw this house in one stroke with lifting the pen or moving on the same line more than once.

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9. By moving only two sticks, change these three equal sized squares  into four equal sized rectangles

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10. Can you rearrange these 3 sticks to make 9

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11. And finally – think and see how many triangles you can spot in this diagram.  If you found 24 great job !

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Answers 

1. Forming 3 Squares by removing 3 sticks

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2. Forming 3 squares by removing 5 sticks

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3. Forming two squares by removing two sticks

sticking_away_squares3sol

4. Forming 3 Triangles by taking away 3 sticks

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5. Forming 2 Equal Triangles by rearranging the 5 sticks

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6. Moving 3 Coins to make the Triangle point downwards

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7. Converting a spiral to two squares by moving 3 sticks

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8. Here is how you can draw the house in one stroke without lifting the pen or moving on the same line more than once

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9. By moving only two sticks, these three equal sized squares can be changed into four equal sized rectangles

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10. Rearranging 3 sticks to make 9


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11. Watch this You Tube Video – to see how there are 24 Triangles in that Diagram

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9cxM_DQMXI

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