Like many, many teenagers, Omi also loathes mathematics from the deepest corner of his heart. And if he had to choose one type of maths that he absolutely cannot stand, it would be calculus!
Why, oh why does he have to spend so long toiling on these squiggly lines! What even are limits anyway? Who on earth decided that inventing calculus would be a good idea?
The last part was probably yelled out loud, because Omi's elder sister Rimi poked her head into his room and blanched at the sight. Omi was tugging on his hair while there were books and notebooks, pencils and erasers scattered all around the room. Omi noticed her and pointed the business end of his pencil at her.
"I always said I would beat up the person who invented mathematics in the afterlife, but hold that thought! I'm going to beat up whoever invented calculus!"
"Ah, staying home for so long, your brain is eating itself, isn't it?" Rimi said drily while pushing some papers away from the bed and sitting down. "Did you forget who invented calculus? It was Sir Isaac Newton! I think there would be a lot of people who would stop you from even touching him!"
"I don't care! Why did he have to go and invent this infernal branch of mathematics anyway? Did he not have anything better to do?" Omi wailed.
"Oh didn't you know? He really didn't have anything better to do! In fact, he was stuck indoors just like us!" Rimi said gleefully. Seeing Omi's dumbstruck expression, she laughed. "Come, I'll tell you what happened."
It was the year 1665 when the bubonic plague swept through England. In fear of the disease spreading, Cambridge University closed. Isaac Newton was in his 20's back then. Forced to stay cooped up in his home, Woolsthrope Manor, his bored mind came up with one discovery after another.
"You remember how one day an apple fell on his head and led to the law of universal gravitation?" Rimi asked. "Well, it happened during that same 'Home Quarantine' or rather, 'Social Distancing'!"
For more than a year, Newton stewed in isolation, coming up with one discovery after another. It was later referred to as his annus mirabilis, the "year of wonders." Though the apple incident is more popular, he actually started with mathematics! He continued to work on the problems he started at Cambridge and the papers he wrote on this became early foundations of calculus.
"So you're telling me," Omi interjected. "That calculus is basically the plague's fault?! If that plague didn't happen, Newton would not be in home quarantine and he would not have come up with the equations!"
"I sincerely doubt that!" Rimi said. "It is possible that he might have come up with calculus at some other stage in his life. But sure, whatever makes you sleep at night! Blame the plague all you want!" Rimi patted her brother's head indulgently.
"You never know," Omi said thoughtfully. "I might come up with some groundbreaking discoveries during this coronavirus crisis!"
"Sure, sure," Rimi hid her smile. "Knowing you, the only thing you'll discover is a hundred and one new ways to evade our mother's jharu!"