Sunday, 29 December 2013

Erdos on Madras

Paul Erdos' verse on the city of Madras

This to city of Madras,
Home of the curry and the daal,
Where the Iyers speak only to Iyengars
And the Iyengars speak only to God

-modelled on a similar verse on Boston snobbery, which goes:

This to city of Boston,
Home of the bean and the cod,
Where the Lowells speak only to Cabots
And the Cabots speak only to God

This was related by Krishnaswami Alladi yesterday December 28, on a talk about the mathematics of Paul Erdos, a brilliant Hungarian, the same country as John von Neumann, the father of computer programming whose birthday it was. The talk was for BrainsTrust at Gokhale Sastri Institute, Karpagambal Nagar, Mylapore.


  1. . . . .and upper class Yankees there used to be known as Boston Brahmins. You don't hear that so often anymore, thank goodness. Snobbery is a little weaker. Lowells had money in cotton mills, Cabots in fur trading, I think, not sure, but both had been in Boston forever [all the way back to the 17th century!!]

  2. It doesn't rhyme. Would scan better if
    "this to the city of Madras, home of curry and utt-a-ppam,
    where Iyers speak only to Iyengars,
    and Iyengars only to Brahm."

    1. injamaven: I love it, Kathie. That is hysterical.