If zero is the hero of numbers, let’s not forget life begins with one single cell! It dominates the scene unlike any other number. Whether it comes to job performance or life’s milestones or even TV channel ratings, being “number 1” can make or break any situation. We feel butterflies fluttering in our stomachs the first time we fall in love, feel amazing joy and pride when we get our first salary, our love knows no bounds for our firstborn child. Here’s an ode to this one and only number – because we live only once!

Have you ever wondered why the Shagun envelope comes with a one rupee coin? 101 or 11 rupees as Shagun means these amounts cannot be divided equally & recipients can enjoy their bounty without anyone claiming an equal share!

The Indian Trumpet’s 1st Birthday Edition

The count begins with one and this very number makes life fun. Rhyming apart, this number is so special that every occasion or event that happens for the first time becomes memorable by default: your child’s first birthday, your first day at school, college or the office and even your first trip abroad. The list goes on and on. It must be a very special number since the Shagun in Indian culture is considered incomplete without rupee one in it.

What makes it so powerful? Why is the entire world focusing on it? No one wants to be second best! Numero Uno is what matters. From parents’ obsession with having their children stand first in class (and children’s obsession with who finishes their food first) to the core belief that God is one, no other number is as important. Is it spiritual? As we want unity among mankind, treating everybody as one would solve a lot of problems. or is it competitive? one millisecond could bring you a gold medal. or not! What makes it No.1 in numbers?

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India’s renowned astrologer P. Khurrana joins in the quest to find the number’s magic. “According to numerology, this number is governed by the Sun and indicates originality, activity, energy, enthusiasm, art and vividness. As regards one being the Shagun number, Vedic belief says that while giving someone something, it is always auspicious to give an amount of increasing significance. Indian culture is flawless: it believes in giving someone something indivisible. 101 or 11 rupees as Shagun means these amounts cannot be divided equally and recipients can enjoy their bounty without anyone claiming an equal share. In daily life, one dominates simply because the count begins from one. There is nothing before it, and nothing after it will hold the same intrigue. It is also the number of competitiveness. As long as it does not become an obsession, the wish or will to be Number one is good as it fuels human zeal and energy.”

To understand it more deeply, leading educationist and human psychology experts join the discussion and share their perspective. Psychologist Shilpa Suri goes first: “Number one has a novelty factor associated with it; a routine pattern sets in after it. Anything happening for the first time is a charm but it also brings along some psychological pressure that we often tend to ignore. If the first-experience of anything fails to meet expectations, the person might fall into depression or a short-term self-depreciation phase. They may lose their confidence. We all need to remember this and tone down this first experience hype!”

Shikha Katyal, an educationist, echoes similar sentiments but in different contexts. “Number one in academics and the competitive world is a pressure number. Its over-importance has parents dreaming about it and students slogging ceaselessly to realise those dreams. Education would be a lot better without the ranking system. I appreciate the grades but somehow having one topper in class shouldn’t lessen the importance of the other 49 students.”

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In yet another context, one means completeness and unity, with your spouse, your family, and, by extension, your community and the whole world! One peaceful world!

So it seems that number one offers much food for thought. While it’s truly loved and admired, it also receives its fair share of criticism. So while this review may have triggered memories of your first love, first kiss or first achievement, here’s an innovative ad campaign from a few years back that takes number one for a ride.

Enjoy the twist and pay attention all around. You may see many automobile and electronic companies offering products with a rupee down payment. Seems like one means a lot of fun!


Keep blowing the Trumpet! This & many more stories await in the pages!