Jarasandha, a tyrannical ruler in the Mahabharata, was born as two symmetric halves-one from each of a king's two wives. The half-infants joined to make a whole when a demoness juxtaposed them while preparing to devour the lumps of flesh. Thus, Jarasandha could be split apart, but would come together if the halves were laid side by side in the correct way. Until Bhima, the strongest of the Pandavas, split him asunder, and ensured he stayed dead by throwing the left half to the right and vice versa. In a similar vein, there is a symmetrical lock, each side of which is only half the whole. To open or close it, you need to work both the halves. The padlock, like Jarasandha's story, takes us to the concept of symmetry in a wide sense, into the world of mathematics and science.
About the Author:
V. Raghunathan's first career was as an academic as Professor of Finance at IIM, Ahmedabad, for nearly two decades, until early 2001. His second- a corporate one- started in 2001, first as President, ING Vysya Bank for about four years, and then with the GMR Group an infrastructure major. He is currently CEO, GMR Group Varalakshmi Foundation. Also, since 1990 he has been an Adjunct Professor at the University of Bocconi, Milan, lecturing in behavioral finance. Raghu has published over 400 academic papers and popular articles, and six books. He is the author of the best-seller Games Indians Play Why We Are the Way We Are (Penguin, 2006), and Stock Exchange, Investments and Derivatives (Tata McGraw Hill, 2007).