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Ritu Asthana


Why are Zebras Striped?

Why are Zebras Striped?
As a child I was always full of questions. I remember asking my parents why zebras were striped or why did giraffes have such a long neck. Most of the time the answers were elusive and I used to be very irritated. I could never get the right answer to satisfy my curiosity. I now realize why my parents...

Why do Onions Make us Cry?

Why do Onions Make us Cry?
One of the earliest memories I have as a child is when I was approximately three or four years old. I remember watching my mother work in the kitchen. She was cutting onions for the salad and I could see tears in her eyes. For a child the worst possible thing is to watch his/her mother cry. I got...

Why is Snow White?

Why is Snow White?
I am sure like my two kids, all of seven and three years, you too may find the cold in Delhi a bit too extreme. It is cold and clammy and some days it is foggy making it dangerous to drive. Some days I would like them to be adequately muffled up in warm winter clothing, while they feel...

How did the Pineapple get its Name?

How did the Pineapple get its Name?
What prompted people to call banana a banana and a pineapple a pineapple and not something else?Actually there is a reason behind the names given to each and every thing; be it a fruit, vegetable, an animal or inanimate objects like stars, planets, etc. However, sometimes the names are misleading, Take the example of pineapple: no it doesn't come...

What is Leukaemia?

Electron Microscopy Photography of a group of human Neutrophils.
Some 15 years back when I was still in school, our class teacher, Mrs. Khurana, would remain absent from school and class almost every other day. We kids were very happy without realising and neither did we bother to find out the reason for her absence.It was only later that our principal informed us that Mrs. Khurana's only son...

Who or What is a Gladiator?

The Colosseum in Rome, Italy was used for gladiatorial contests
It all started in ancient Rome. The most brutal sport that has ever existed in the history of the world was the fights between gladiators. The 'sport' traces its roots to the custom among the Etruscan people, a civilisation in Italy that existed before the Roman civilisation. At the death of the master of the house, servants would duel...

Can Two People have Identical Fingerprints?

Scanning human fingerprint for a Biometric identification system
I was once watching a detective serial on T.V. where the fingerprints of the suspect are required. The hero invites the villain to his home and offers him a glass of water. The bad guy takes the glass and drinks the water from it. After he leaves the hero dramatically whips out a handkerchief and picks up the glass....

Who discovered Vaccination?

"Mom, I have a stomach ache and I am feeling sick!" Try this out at home and the quick response is bound to be, "Don't worry, we will take you to the Doctor!" More often than not, if the ache is because you haven't done your homework, the mere mention of the word 'doctor' cures you. Of course, if...

How Does a Helicopter Hover?

Royal Navy helicopter hovering above land
It was January 26 and Rahul was terribly exited. And with good reason too. His father, a pilot in the Indian Navy, had been bestowed the rare honour of flying the newly acquired "Pawan Hans" helicopters for the Republic Day parade.Rahul couldn't sleep the night before. He had already set his alarm clock to wake him up at 4...

How do Humans Balance on Two Legs?

Wandering indian tightrope walker
Four-year-old Rohit couldn't understand why his parents and grand parents were so happy on seeing his 10-month-old sister, Ruchi, take a few unsteady steps towards her favorite toy. What was so unusual about her walking -after all, he could walk and run without anyone's help, yet no one ever clapped nor hugged him, the way they were doing it...