A gentle stream of breeze hit Thimma’s face, his long, lean legs were exposed to the cold air. The bare arms stretched wide to welcome the mother, the nature. Thimma’s eyes had wept again on that day, and this repeated weeping was not new to him. He faced bullies in his village and was nicknamed Mankuthimma. Thimma hated his name, and constantly wept for the adjoining adjective.
One day, at the step of Lord Shiva’s sanctorum, Thimma sat and questioned the strangely curved stone. The villagers called this strangely cut stone as lingaa, Thimma couldn’t understand why so! He asked many villagers as to how the stone got its name but his foolish question was not only refused but refuted. Yet, today he was there, in the sacred Shiv mandir, near the altar, probably, he was there to believe what others believed in.
Thimma, slowly examined the stone’s architecture, it was as if a lump of ore had taken a shape, and which people presumed it to be that only ONE.
Why indeed was Thimma baffled by things that the villagers had never dared or rather bothered to question? Did this act of Thimma mark the end to the existence of that only ONE? Or was this the beginning?

An ardent devotee, a Shiv bakth, came into the mandir, but was stopped by Thimma’s arrow-like question. The devotee gently smiled at Thimma’s question, and replied that he too never knew the answer.

“But isn’t that an amazing feeling, why do we need to rationalize everything? Why can’t our mind accept what is beyond our ability of contemplation? Why do we get frustrated when we don’t get an answer?” said the devotee in a very mystical tone.
After listening to these words dropping in a flow from the devotee’s mouth, Thimma continued to probe. “Why indeed one should not question?”

The devotee was, for once, stunned. Surely, he had heard about Thimma and his well-known name Mankuthimma, but today he couldn’t believe his eyes, for he knew the true meaning of the adjoining adjective.

“Dear Thimma, I am sorry, I have no answers. But I have a favour to ask of you, if you oblige. Please, never be mad at those who call you Mankuthimma. They know least, for they don’t know your rigmarole, so their words shouldn’t affect you!” said the devotee.
That day onward, Mankuthimma continued his journey on this path, and the different questions that he posed led to a deeper exploration of life and universe. The Mankuthimmana Kagga, was that path, which would lead to the invention of that equation. One simple, elegant equation which would explain everything!
                                                                                                                     By Suhasini Srihari

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