Ek aur ek gyarah hote hain – एक और एक ग्यारह होते हैं (August 2020)

Continuing on the theme of Hindi proverb and idioms, the topic for this month’s assignment is to review and expand on the phrase Ek aur ek gyarah hote hain (एक और एक ग्यारह होते हैं). Does one and one really make eleven? One would say one and one make two – at least arithmetically. Then, doesn’t 1+1=11 seem absurd? That’s what we will go over as part of this month’s topic.


If one person takes 2 days to finish a job, how many persons will it take to finish the same job in 1 day? I would not blame you if you say two persons. Mathematically, that sounds right. But, that’s not what happens in real life. Why is that so? For one, we are not machines. Second, the real life jobs are not purely mechanical in nature. But, are there other factors that influence the outcome? Yes!


Think again! Think of any real life example that a person would finish in 2 days. Now add a person and make it a team of two. Both of them when doing the same job would have taken 2 days individually, but, here, they will be asked to finish the same job together. The actual time it will take for both of them to finish the job could vary from a short interval to infinity. To be specific, the actual time to finish could be in any one of the following intervals:

  1. less than a day
  2. a day
  3. more than a day but less than 2 days
  4. exact 2 days
  5. more than 2 days


Now, try to contemplate the conditions and scenarios that would cause the job to finish in each one of the above time intervals. Do not skip this exercise. Not only will you ace this topic, you will unearth a profound truth – a secret – that would virtually guarantee success in your personal and professional goals for the rest of your life.


If you are not able to uncover the point yet, let me share an example. Say, your teacher has assigned you a team project that entails writing and presentation. Four of you are working on it. The time it takes to finish and the quality of the project will depend upon how committed each group members is to the outcome and how you divide the work. When all of you are dedicated to the common goal, and the work is divided based on the skills of each team member, the outcome will be marvelous and likely the project will be finished much before the deadline. Now, think of the scenarios that will have you produce an ok job, a horrible outcome, or an altogether unfinished project. Answering it will help you to decipher the deep meaning.


This month’s idiom is used to describe the efficiencies that come in the alignment of group. When the combined effect of two or more things is more than their sum, the phrase ‘ek aur ek gyarah’ is used to explain the reason behind the outcome. Some of the terms that suggest this phenomenon are cooperation, teamwork, union, and more importantly synergy.


In life, it is absolutely critical to be in the company of synergistic people – be it your friends, colleagues, or life-partner, the quality of people around you either makes or breaks you. In life’s journey, you need company/partners whose presence makes your outcome ‘eleven’ – not zero or negative.


Here, it is also important to note that it is not necessary that successful partners think alike or have the same skills, but they must have a common goal.


Last but not least, while seeking ‘right’ partners and friends, we must assess who we are. When we are part of a group, are we raising others high or pulling them down?


As part of this month’s assignment, the kids will cover the following points:

  1. Literal meaning of the phrase
  2. Implied meaning of the phrase
  3. Hindi pronunciation of the phrase
  4. Real-life examples
  5. key qualities implied in this phrase
  6. Critical evaluation
    1. When is one and one not equal to eleven? In other words, analyzing real-life scenarios, kids can about when one and one equal to two, eleven, or any other number – and why. Also, kids can analyze whether one and one always make equal to or more than two? If not, why?
    2. Kids will evaluate themselves: are they the one whose contribution to a team is different than +1.


I am looking forward to wonderful explanations (pravachan) by our hawan kids.



Harsh Mendiratta