It was a customary Onam celebration at Athena with a colorfully arranged Onam pookalam (traditional flower arangement) adorning the entrance until Dr. Ram walked in. He took one look at the pookalam and claimed he could see a schematic expansion series of squares, circles and triangles embedded in concentric circles.
Dr. Ram explaining the schematic expansion serious in our Onam pookalam!
Dazed, we went over to take a more detailed look at the pookalam. On seeing the perplexed expression on our face, he hunched down to explain further. First, he pointed to the concentric circles and the four squares placed in the centre, he then showed us how the outer vertices of these squares have eight circles attached to them and the spaces between adjoining circles are superimposed with triangles.
“Can you see the symmetric arrangement of these shapes?” he queried, explaining that this arrangement was a classic example of the schematic expansion series. To expand the pookalam infinitely, you require only 8 objects adjoining the space spanned by the previous shapes he added.
A representation of the design of the pookalam as explained.
Even as we were mumbling among ourselves that Ram was seeing too much in an ordinary pookalam he look up and claimed; he can clearly relate this to one of the projects in which he was looking at the least amount of resources that was required to expand the reach of an intervention program in health.