The Story of Simultaneous Equations

Once upon a time in the magical world of numbers, there lived X and Y. Other numbers called them unknown numbers because they did not know their value. The parents did not know how to help them to see their value in the world. A wise lady had once given two slips of paper saying this contained the map to who they were.

Each slip of paper contained a structure that numbers called as equation.

10X + Y = 78

5X + 6Y = 83

X and Y interpreted the map thus:

  1. They had no value without each other.
  2. Without having friends with social status they amounted to nothing.

So X hung out with the number 10 and 5 and Y hung out with 6.

Moreover, they clung to each other, feeling very insecure if the other did something alone.

The parents decided it was time X and Y went on a journey and found their value. X and Y took off and soon they reached a forest of numbers. The wise lady, now old, lived here. X and Y had no confidence they would find her. They walked through the forest unhappily. Soon X began to suffer from depression and Y from paranoia.

The wise lady found them lying in a daze under the tree of life. She looked at them amused and asked, “Who are you?”

Y replied, “We are unknown numbers. She is called X and I am Y.”

The wise lady guffawed, “Unknown numbers? Hahahaha Unknown according to whom?”

X and Y were irritated by her question and felt she was insensitive. But there was something about her. So they asked, “Will you help us find our value?”

The wise lady nodded. “For that we need both the equations and we can find value for only one person at a time.” X who was very depressed and did not quite believe that the lady could help offered to step out.

The lady stuck the two slips on a single page. Then she said, “For X to step out, in both the equations she needs to hang out with a friend or friends with same value. Thus in the second equation, she has to find two more ‘5’s.”

X and Y looked at each other. Since they never did anything alone, when X found two more of ‘5’, Y did the same and found two more of ‘6’. And hence their combined value was also two times more.

The two equations now looked like this:

10X + Y = 78

2(5X) + 2(6Y) = 2(83)


10 X + 12 Y = 166

Now the lady asked X to step out and X, believing this was fate, subtracted herself. Since Y always did what X did, he also subtracted himself and the whole equation went into negative.

10X + Y= 78

-10X -12Y = -166

With X out of the equation, Y’s world collapsed and the two equations became one focusing only on Y thus:

-11Y = – 88

Y was terrified. The wise lady asked Y to do deep breathing. Breathe in, breathe out. “If you see only negative, the world will also be negative. Breathe in hope and light.” Y breathed deep and negative focus changed to positive focus.

11Y = 88

Now the lady became very firm. She said sharply, “To find your value, you have to give up external affirmation and social rules. Take the risk. Go solo.”

Y was now very open and decided he had to find who he was. He asked 11 to leave his side. 11 respected the decision and jumped to the other side of equation, slipped and fell under the 88. There he divided 88 and took his value out.

Lo and Behold, Y knew his value.

Y = 88/11

Y = 8

Y’s was ‘8’. He was so happy and ran around the wise lady. She calmed him. “Just as you found yourself, don’t you want to help X find hers?”

Y was ecstatic. “Yes, yes. Let me help her.”

He went to X and showed her the first equation. Then whispered, “I know my value. Go find yours.”

10 X + 8 = 78


10X = 78 – 8


10X = 70

Then, Y encouraged her to let go old patterns of living and go solo. X asked 10 to leave. 10 jumped to the other side of equation, slipped and fell under 70.

X = 70/10

Then X ordered 10 to take her value and leave. 10 divided 70 and left.

Lo and behold! X stood face to face with her value.

X = 7

She was jumping in joy. But in moments, because she had been depressed for long and used to focusing on the negative, she said, “So Y has more value than me? I am a 7 and he is a 8.”

The wise lady laughed. “Nah. Each of you is unique, having specific functions in the world. You are an odd number and he is even. You will multiply and divide differently. You will exist in nature in different places, in different ways.”

X and Y realized they had work to do and it was time to travel alone. They hugged and said their farewells to each other.

As they were leaving, they turned to the wise lady. “What is your value?”

She smiled.

What do you think is her value?

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