Trey triangee tringee pati
Nau terandaa adhh
Panje ko chhakka laga
Tehenja lekha badhh
One third of 33
9 plus 13 divided by 2
5 plus 6
Now add these all up
The answer is 33 – but the informant noted, “It only works when you say it in Sindhi. The numbers are not immediately obvious and it requires some thinking to figure it out.”
DR is my biological father. He is 59 years old, resides in Richmond, VA, and works as a doctor at Virginia Urology. He was born in southern India and lived there until early adulthood. He heard this riddle as a young child from his father, who learned it from his own father.
From what I’ve been told about the informant’s upbringing, academic success was very important to his family. His father would push him to be ahead of the curb in science and math, making him develop his skills in these areas even outside of school. Therefore, it makes sense that a math riddle, especially one that requires some critical thinking, is a piece of family folklore.
I don’t remember this riddle being told to me as a child, probably because I grew up in the USA and therefore never learned Sindhi. I wouldn’t have understood this riddle, but when I was in elementary school, he did tell me other jokes and riddles related to math and science. I never really took interest in this subject matter, and to this day am not interested in pursuing a STEM career. However, his attempts to get me interested in math and science show that he was trying to continue a generational trend.