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An Ode To The Beautiful Primes

When I was in school, I never quite liked math, like every other kid. But being the son of a mathematics professor, my love for math was eventually developed. It can also be seen as an interesting case of Stockholm Syndrome maybe. And now, I like to think math is just like life. Whether you love it or hate it, you can't escape or run away from it.

The beautiful primes (Pic Source: https://www.helpingwithmath.com/printables/tables_charts/misc/Prime-Numbers01.svg)

Revisiting my childhood days, I guess I was in third grade when I first learnt about prime numbers. For all those who have never ever heard of prime numbers before and the ones who think math is Satan's language, allow me to elaborate what prime numbers are.

Prime numbers are numbers that are ONLY divisible by one and itself. In much simple terms, they cannot be evenly divided. As kids, we were told to memorize these numbers and we were supposed to know prime numbers up to at least 100. And we were told that they're important numbers. But I never understood why they are important. Back when I was a 9 year old kid, the concept of primes to me, was as abstract as it could get. And back then I couldn't care less.

It was much later in life that I finally understood the beauty of prime numbers. Prime numbers can be thought of as the crazy diamonds among all the numbers. The misfits among the crowd. Primes are irreplaceable and indivisible by other numbers, which is what makes them special. This makes them like the atoms of numbers and they cannot be decomposed. Sort of like the building bricks of numbers.

So, you might ask how many prime numbers are there in the number universe? Well, the answer here is infinite. And their occurrence is unpredictable, as we move higher and higher up the number line. But for me, the most fascinating thing about prime numbers is that they have no patterns and there is no way to detect when they'll occur. All you can do is check if a number is prime or not. You can't predict their occurrence.

Curiosity has often been one of the primary driving force behind mankind's progress and we humans have always been asking questions. Be it about our existence or our purpose here, we love questions. And we always try to find answers and patterns in things. Right since 300 BC, from the time Euclid wrote his theorem of infinitude of prime numbers, prime numbers have continued to enchant mathematicians and have even made them lose their sanity at times. Primes have always been mysterious and fascinating.

Sometimes in life, you'll meet people who're exactly like prime numbers. The original, the special ones of the world. There's no way to predict when they'll enter your life. But when they do, they'll turn it all upside down and sweep you right off your feet.
Just like mathematics and life, one can't escape running into a prime number. And as on the number line, the frequency of their occurrence is quite rare, as we keep moving ahead in life. So what happens when you meet a prime number in your life? Well, you can't help but fall in love with them. Personally speaking, at least I surely can't. I'm sure you must have met a few of prime numbers in your life. If not, well, perhaps you are the prime number!

But sadly, there's one catch, people most often end up misunderstanding these unique beings. But it's the primes that make up this world a beautiful place. The wonderful freaks who just scream out their individuality in your face! Our habit of finding patterns in things to simplify our lives eventually end up stagnating our lives. Our curiously restless souls seek out for adventure in our lives. And these prime numbers are nothing but living-breathing adventures! Their sheer eccentricity, an unconventional outlook towards life and the courage to differ is what makes them so interesting.

And this one is dedicated to all the prime numbers of my life. Thank you for making my life interesting and keep shining on, you unpredictable & beautiful little snowflakes!

I'll leave you here with some lines by Matt Haig from his book, The Humans - a classic and humorously wholesome read.

“Because prime numbers are fucking serious, man. Some serious shit. They can make you lose it. They’re like sirens. They call you in with their isolated beauty and before you know it you are in some major mind-shit.”

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