What’s special about Nine – for my “Just short of double digit Niner”

6 Sep

Happy Birthday

Any parent of 2 children knows that the younger one is always “catching up”. As my cousin said, he/ she has never known a 100% world – one where 100% of parents’ attention/ 100% of household resources – which include time, toys, food, books, whatever are focussed on him/ her…So, the younger ones grow like weeds – confident that because their parents have “been there/ done that”, they are far more chilled out, but also therefore less gullible, and less generous.

This implies naturally that they are far more fiercely competitive than the older ones will ever get – after all, they are ALWAYS competing for the lion’s share of the 100%!

So, BECAUSE I wrote a blog post for my older daughter on her 13th birthday (in my mind, it was a milestone – and also she had badgered me no end about writing something-ANYthing! for kids her age), I am now writing one for the younger daughter – it will probably also appeal to her more, since she is a trivia accumulator, AND, she finally has her own email account (her wish list birthday gift!) , so she can actually read this!

Here you go, Achchu:

Language/ Literature/ Fiction:

Some well known sayings/ phrases:

“A cat has nine lives” : The story about this goes like this – A very hungry cat entered a house one day and found a plate of nine fish that were going to be eaten for dinner by the nine starving children who lived there. The cat was feeling a little selfish that day and ate up all of the fish in nine quick bites. With no food on the table, the nine starving children died of hunger the very next day, along with the cat who died from eating WAY too much. When the cat went up to heaven and spoke with God, God was so angry with the cat that he threw him out of heaven and made him fall for nine days all the way back to earth. To this day, the cat still holds the nine lives of the starving children in his belly, which is why he must die nine different times before he will stay dead. Apparently, the highest recorded fall survived by a cat is 45 stories! That’s something, huh?

– “A stitch in time saves Nine” – A timely effort will prevent more work later. So, always remember to show Tulasi didi your torn clothes/ bags 🙂

– The expression “to the nines means” to the highest degree. Someone dressed “to the nines” is dressed up as much as they can be (See, this is what N means when she says you have to be dressed to the nines to go eat at Via Milano!”)

– “On cloud nine” means happy, euphoric or `high’: The phrase came into use in the 1950s from a term used by the US Weather Bureau. For the meteorologists Cloud Nine is cumulo-nimbus cloud at a height of 10 km, which is high even by the standard of clouds. (By the way, Ben was born at a place called Cloud9 🙂 )

The “whole nine yards” has a few possible origins, but a common thought of it’s origin is that tailors use nine yards of material to make top quality suits.

Interesting language related trivia

(one of it is also related to dogs so should make you happy!):

– The word “K-9” pronounces the same as canine and is used in many U.S. police departments to denote the police dog unit. Despite not sounding like the translation of the word canine in other languages, many police and military units around the world use the same designation.

– “Redivider” with nine letters is the longest palindromic word in the English language. A palindromic word has the same sequence of letters backwards or forwards.

– Something on grammar – (so Anna ma’am won’t be tooo unhappy with you) – The language includes, grammatically, nine parts: Noun, Pronoun, Article, Verb, Adjective, Adverb, Preposition, Conjunction, and the Interjection

Now fiction:

vanished prince

In your maybe all time favourite author’s (mine too) books, the 9th book in the Five Find Outer series was Vanished Prince, and in the Famous Five was Five Fall Into Adventure – enjoy :

In your current favourite series, the interesting sounding platform in King’s Cross (that now actually exists btw – we have to go see it this summer), is, ofcourse …9¾!


In your sister’s favourite series, The LOTR, there are nine Rings of power given to men, and consequently, nine ringwraiths. Additionally, The Fellowship of the Ring consists of nine companions, representing the free races and also as a positive mirror of the nine ringwraiths

In possibly your next favourite series, Percy Jackson, you will see that – It takes nine days (for an anvil) to fall from heaven to earth, and nine more to fall from earth to Tartarus—a place of torment in the underworld (and where Percy was stuck with Annabeth for a while in the last book)

But in the one that will probably come after, (the Hunger Games series), District 9 is the least spoken about district. The only hint given that District 9’s industry was grain is that it is said that District 9 has lots of factories. In the 75th Hunger Games, District 9 was one of the two districts to have both tributes killed on the first day.

Enough of English. Now some other languages

– In French the word neuf means both nine and new. (This you should know by now, given Anais ma’am’s hard work with you!)

– In German, the words for nine and new are neun and neu, and in Spanish, nueve and nuevo. As you count and reach nine, you know you are about to make a new start. (So, yes, make a new start on being nice to your sister 🙂 )

Some mythology/ religion:

Nine (九 pinyin jiǔ) is considered a good number in Chinese culture because it sounds the same as the word “longlasting” (久 pinyin jiǔ)

– Interestingly however, the Japanese consider nine to be unlucky because in Japanese the word for nine sounds similar to the word for “pain” or “distress” (苦, kyū)

– Nine is strongly associated with the Chinese dragon, a symbol of magic and power. There are nine forms of the dragon, it is described in terms of nine attributes, and it has nine children. It has 117 scales – 81 yang (masculine, heavenly) and 36 yin (feminine, earthly). All three numbers are multiples of 9 (9×13=117, 9×9=81, 9×4=36) as well as having the same digital root of 9.

– The nine Muses in Greek mythology are Calliope (epic poetry), Clio (history), Erato (erotic poetry), Euterpe (lyric poetry), Melpomene (tragedy), Polyhymnia (song), Terpsichore (dance), Thalia (comedy), and Urania (astronomy). (This you should remember from your school play, huh?)

– The number 9 is revered in Hinduism and considered a complete, perfected and divine number because it represents the end of a cycle in the decimal system, which originated from the Indian subcontinent as early as 3000 BC.

– In Buddhism, Gautama Buddha , was believed to have nine virtues, which he was (1) Accomplished, (2) Perfectly Enlightened, (3) Endowed with knowledge and Conduct or Practice, (4) Well-gone or Well-spoken, (5) the Knower of worlds, (6) the Guide Unsurpassed of men to be tamed, (7) the Teacher of gods and men, (8) Enlightened, and (9) Blessed. Important Buddhist rituals usually involve nine monks.

– Ramadan, the month of fasting and prayer, is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar

– In Egyptian mythology, there are nine major gods and goddesses. The ancient Egyptians believed that a person had to earn the right to enter the afterlife. Before an individual could pass into the next realm, nine great gods known collectively as the enneagon had to judge his worthiness.

– Nailed on the cross, Jesus Christ expires at the ninth hour. Jesus appears nine times to his disciples and apostles after his resurrection. The nine spiritual gifts of God enumerated by saint Paul: wisdom, knowledge, faith, gift of healing, to operate miracles, prophecy, distinguishing spirits, to speak in different kinds of tongues and the gift to interpret them. Saint Paul enumerates also nine fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Basically all these are good things you should do)

– Even in Nepali (yayyy Tulasi didi!) There are nine “Dharmas”, books constituting the Nepal Bible.

I tried to keep it towards the end, given your current (non) love for it ☺, but one couldn’t avoid it for ever!

So, Math (and, actually, as you know already, nineis almost a magical number!):

– A polygon with nine sides is called a nonagon or enneagon. A group of nine of anything is called an ennead.

– If you multiply nine by any natural number, and repeatedly add the digits of the answer until it is just one digit, you will end up with nine:
• 2 × 9 = 18 (1 + 8 = 9)
• 3 × 9 = 27 (2 + 7 = 9)
• 9 × 9 = 81 (8 + 1 = 9)
• 121 × 9 = 1089 (1 + 0 + 8 + 9 = 18; 1 + 8 = 9)
• 234 × 9 = 2106 (2 + 1 + 0 + 6 = 9)
• 578329 × 9 = 5204961 (5 + 2 + 0 + 4 + 9 + 6 + 1 = 27; 2 + 7 = 9)
• 482729235601 × 9 = 4344563120409 (4 + 3 + 4 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 3 + 1 + 2 + 0 + 4 + 0 + 9 = 45; 4 + 5 = 9)

– There are other interesting patterns involving multiples of nine:
• 12345679 x 9 = 111111111
• 12345679 x 18 = 222222222
• 12345679 x 81 = 999999999

– The sum of the digits of the number added to 9 is always equal to the sum of the digits of the result. Take any four digit number and try the trick. Ex: 9 + 17 = 26. 1 + 7 = 8 & 2 + 6 = 8

– 9 is the maximum number of cubes that are needed to sum to any positive integer.

– It is easy to work out whether a number is exactly divisible by 9. This is the same as asking whether a number is in the “9 times table”. All you have to do is add up its digits. If the answer is more than one digit long, you add up the digits again, and go on doing this, until you are left with a single digit. If this single digit is 9 then the original number was divisible by 9.
For example, is 781236 divisible by 9? Adding up its digits 7 + 8 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 6 = 27, and adding again 2 + 7 = 9. And because the answer is 9, the original number must be divisible by 9.

– Any random number (e.g 35967930) when arranged with its integers in a descending order (i.e. 99765330) and subtracted from it the reverse number with rearranged integers in an ascending order ( i.e 03356799) the resulting subtraction (i.e. 96408531) individual integers when added (i.e 36) leads to a multiple of number 9


2 Digit Numbers: 10-01 = 9 (9X1); 21-12 = 9; 32-23 = 9; 43-34 = 9; 54-45 = 9; 65-56 = 9; 76-67 = 9; 87-78 = 9; 98-89 = 9;

3 Digit Numbers: 210-012 = 198 (1+9+8 = 18 = 9X2; 321-123 = 198; 432-234 = 198; 543-345 = 198; 654-456 = 198; 765-567 = 198; 876-678 = 198; 987-789 = 198;

4 Digit Numbers: 3210-0123 = 3087 (3+0+8+7 = 18 = 9X2); 4321-1234 = 3087; 5432-2345 = 3087; 6543-3456 = 3087; 7654-4567 = 3087; 8765-5678 = 3087; 9876-6789 = 3087;

5 digit Numbers: 43210-01234 = 41976 (4+1+9+7+6 = 27 = 9X3); 54321-12345 = 41976; 65432-23456 = 41976; 76543-34567 = 41976; 87654-45678 = 41976; 98765-56789 = 41976;

and so on

– On a numeric keypad or calculator, the numbers from left to right and top to bottom are…

789 – row 1, 456 – row 2, 123 – row 3

If you add up the totals of each row you get… row1 is 7 + 8 + 9 =24, row2 is 4 + 5 + 6 =15, row3 is 1 + 2 + 3 =6 The difference between each sum is 9. (24 – 15 = 9 or 15 – 6 = 9)

– There are 360 degrees in a circle. 3 + 6 + 0 = 9.

Some random facts (some of them are – yes, ANOTHER (non) favourite subject, THEME!)

– Only about one ninth of the mass of an iceberg is visible above the water. Nearly all its bulk remains hidden beneath the surface. (that’s what sunk the Titanic – you DO know that song, right?)

– Before 2006 (when Pluto was officially designated as a non-planet), there were nine planets in the solar system.

– A human pregnancy normally lasts nine months – i.e., you were inside my tummy for nine months – AND you were a really restless baby! (ofcourse!)

– The 9 of diamonds – the playing card – is sometimes called the Curse of Scotland.

Nine judges sit on the India as well as the United States Supreme Court.

Nine Eleven is the day of the attacks on the World Trade Center, New York, USA (Odai was less than a year old then, and nana was having a big heart operation!)

Nine months is the average number of months per school year that most primary and secondary students are required to attend. Basically, achchu, you guys get to party all the time!

– A standard work day of 9 to 5 begins at 9 a.m. (duh! But for ma and babba, it started earlier and ended MUCH later, huh?)

– In astrology, the ninth sign of the Zodiac is Sagittarius, identified by the Greeks as a centaur. Centaurs are magical creatures known for their skills as archers, philosophers, and predictors of the future.

OK, this should make you happy again! Music:

– In classical music the curse of the ninth refers to the superstition that a composer who writes a ninth symphony will die soon. Beethoven, who left his Tenth Symphony unfinished, is regarded by the superstition as the first victim of the curse.

– The Beatles released a song called “Revolution 9“; its principle vocal feature is a voice repeating, “Number nine…number nine…number nine…” . John Lennon, the primary composer of “Revolution 9”, (yeah, he’s the dude who composed and sang “Imagine”) also released a solo recording entitled “#9 Dream”. The Beatles also released a song called “One After 909”. Lennon is known to have felt a connection with the number 9. Both he and his son, Sean were born on October 9th. Also, John died on the 9th (UK Time).

OK, I can see you getting tired now, so, to end it all, here is a game for two players which uses nine coins.

Arrange the coins in a circle. The players take turns and can remove either one coin or two coins which are next to each other. The winner is the player who picks up the last coin.

Go play it with R, N, S — and, have a rollicking year!


2 Responses to “What’s special about Nine – for my “Just short of double digit Niner””

  1. Narayanan September 6, 2014 at 5:35 pm #

    Wah ! Wah ! I started reading this as a trivia for 9, but at the end felt that is was a well researched paper on the number 9. Too Good ! Happy Birthday to Achchu

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