I read a quote around seven or eight years ago.

By association, I remember when I read it. I used it at one of my most intense training sessions held—at the peak of summer—at a summer camp organized by a school. The five-hour session was held in a room which had no fans. They handsomely gave us (Johnny and me), a beautiful plaque each. in appreciation of our fortitude in surviving that revoltingly hot summer day. However, I do not know where I read it. Nor did I know then who wrote it. But I remember being absolutely arrested by it.

You think because you understand ‘one’ you must also understand ‘two’, because one and one make two. But you must also understand ‘and’.


I read it many times. The more I dwelt upon it, the more meanings and interpretations it seemed to have—each more intriguing, deeper, than the other. I remember having interpreted this quote in three different ways. The interpretations have remained stuck in my mind, like the quote.

One and one don’t necessarily make two. The word AND could be a secret magic ingredient. It could be the thing that brings synergy into the mix. Synergy, which makes the sum greater than the parts. Synergy, which triggers the exponent and makes things unstoppable—and limitless. Not literally limitless, though. But limitless in the sense of it always being many steps ahead of your imagination. So that you never feel as if you can ever grasp it all, know it all, possess it all. Like mad, crazy love that refuses to listen to reason. As life-giving and limitless as the range of your beloved’s vision. Perhaps that’s what Rumi meant.

Or maybe he meant that the addition of AND starts a chain reaction. Once you’ve tasted the potential of it; once you have experienced the power of that simple word, there is no stopping you. You may use it once… or a hundred… or a million times. And the more you use it, the wider, deeper and higher you could go. Gravity-defying is child’s play once the AND is understood… and surrendered to.

Or perhaps he meant it in the sense of a child of a man and a woman. Just because you understand one (the man) and the second one (the woman), doesn’t mean you can understand (or predict, or define) the fruit of their union (the and). The child may have the characteristics of the man and woman. But he is also himself… beyond the definitions—or limitations—of his parents. She is independent of them both in her inner structure, her proclivities and potential. What makes you think you know the result of one and one?

Or any other, for that matter?