The hundred rupee note was not a reward to me – it was an important lesson
Ashish Sir’s Economics classes had instantly become the most popular of all courses in Semester I. He had cracked the code of making learning a fun experience and it was a great accomplishment given the subject at hand had previously sought only bitter sighs. Ashish Sir changed our perception. In order to teach us complex economic concepts such as Nash equilibrium, game theory or the prisoner’s dilemma, he had planned a game for us – Split or Share. While the reward within our grasp was merely a chocolate, the game gave us insights into competitor analysis and thinking from alternative perspectives while making a decision.
While teaching Auction theory, Sir conducted an actual one in class. For one such bid, he was auctioning a Rs.100 note starting at Rs.10. Everyone raised their hands, eager to buy a hundred bucks at much lesser price. The only catch was that when the bid closes, the person who bids the second highest will have to pay the full amount whereas the winner also pays but gets the 100 rupees in return. So the cost is higher for the loser. The sheer satisfaction of making the opponents pay more made the auction continue for a very long time. Till the time the price of the Rs. 100 note went to Rs. 90, most students had dropped out. After the actual face value, it was just Manas and I. In pure competitive spirit, we bid on that piece of paper till the price of the hundred-rupee note escalated to Rs. 250. Ashish Sir, who was very serious about charging us that amount, asked us to prove that we actually had that kind of money. Later, I bought the note at an embarrassing price of Rs. 200 and Manas had to pay. Although we were the only participants till the end, everybody was enjoying. We learnt an economic theory while practicing it in a realistic situation. The quote by Benjamin Franklin ‘Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn” and now meant something to me.
The hundred rupee note was not a reward to me – it was an important lesson. I cherish this valuable lesson and the cheerful memory of that class with the laminated hundred rupee note, autographed by Prof. Ashish Kulkarni.
Article by – Prachiti Asolkar (Batch of 2017)
Photograph by – Prachiti Asolkar (Batch of 2017)