How Math Propelled My Subtle Bonding With My Teenage Daughter (And My Career)

Karthik Rajan
6 min readOct 7, 2023
Image by master1305 on Freepik

There is something about the unexpected. They stick with you.

I recently met a retired mentor of mine for lunch. He shared something unexpected that perked my interest. His face beamed when he said that his middle age daughter does a book club with him. I felt his whole being sensed a meaning in that bonding.

He said he may have done something right in life, as many of his contemporaries could hardly find something in common with their grown-up kids.

He was grateful for his luck.

Riding back home, I wondered how I involuntarily reacted to his sentiment. As a kid, I enjoyed Math. Never in a million years would I have thought that it would help create awesome memories with my teenage daughter.

Bonds are built on shared passions and when my daughter asked me if I knew how to do the inverse of a matrix on a calculator. I shrugged and nodded my head in the negative- calculators were not the in thing with my teachers. She said, “OK. I will walk you through it.” I protested. She said with a warm smile, “You guide me through math stuff, let me get an opportunity to walk you through stuff.”

There is a joy in learning. There is more joy in learning with your kids. There is even more joy when your kid wants to reflect the joy on a subject we bond over.

Life doles out great moments in simple interactions. In my middle age, I never knew my joy for Math would foster better bonds with my teenage daughter.

As I reminiscence, math has been a great pillar in my career which created the freedom and privilege of spending time with her in her growing up years.

Some snippets below in the hope that it inspires someone — somewhere.

1. My First Hire

Once upon a time, I had the privilege of sitting across a gentleman with a freshly minted Ph. D.

That was my first opportunity to lead a team. I was doing interviews to make my first hire. It became crystal clear that I was sitting across a genius. I fell for his brain powers. Wanted to hire him, my boss also interviewed him. Cautioned me about his lightness on communication skills and…



Karthik Rajan

Stories to fuel your mind. Theme: life’s hidden treasures in plain sight. Goal: Warm tone, solid content, crisp stories. About me: one google search away.