Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Zen of Sudoku

What is this Sudoku thing? I remember buying a book from a display of various Sudoku books at the entrance of Chapters even before I knew what these mysterious puzzles were. I attempted one puzzle, without any knowledge of the strategies used to solve them, hated it and set the book aside for months.

The word Sudoku comes from the Japanese words “Sudo” and “ku” which respectively mean “Mentality” and “De-ruffling” or “to make serene”. This is not actually true. I made it up. Sudoku actually used to be a yoga pose that was thought to enhance blood flow to the brain and increase mental acuity. One used this pose to meditate serenity and prepare oneself for great feats requiring incredible concentration (perhaps like planning a wedding). Actually, I made that up too.

I have since tamed the mighty Sudoku. I have learned a number of strategies which I have to use simultaneously to slay the mighty beast. I began with the puzzles categorized as “Don’t-tell-your-friends-you’re-this-stupid” and progressed then to the “Obvious” and then rejoiced as I could finally tackle the “Super Easy” category.

Sudokus, I have learned, bring a restless soul like mine and a panic-prone mind like mine peace. The preoccupation with simple numbers and their placement temporarily distracts me from my obsession with worrying about all the other minute factors in life that I cannot control. For instance, when Mark and I found ourselves in Newfoundland without a rental car, I turned to Sudokus for solace. And with the excitement and anticipation of an upcoming wedding and an upcoming school year as well as a student teacher under my guidance for the first time comes more responsibility and more to worry about.

I might have to turn to the Mighty Sudoku for de-ruffling again.

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