TIL: What is ‘1 + 1 =’

Soham asked us this question yesterday. He wanted four answers.

Everyone got two immediately: 2 & 11.

I gave him one that he didn’t know: 3.

He gave us two we couldn’t have figured out: Window, 6.

These three answers – 3, 6 and window – are why I love spending time with him when he’s not playing a video game.


2: a simple arithmetic sum of 1 + 1.

11: treating the 1s as characters, not integers, placed next to each other.

3: Reading the 11 from previous answer as binary. (It could also be 9 or 17, if read as octal or hexadecimal)

6: counting each of the bars 1s have a single bar, + & = have two bars each.

Window: this needs a small sketch

1 + 1 = Window
1 + 1 = Window

I love is how quick and comfortable Soham is at accepting and absorbing new things.

He didn’t understand the logic of why 11 in binary was 3 in decimal (I may have been bad at explaining it). But he didn’t think twice before adding ‘3’ to his list of answers.

A few minutes later he was giving out the answers: 2, 3, 11, 6 and window. Boy didn’t have the slightest doubt about including 3 🙂

I also loved that I learnt something new, however trivial. All these interactions with him open me up to the lateral possibilities that education and growing-up trained me to ignore.

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