Flame

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Summer music of the trees

Summer music of the trees

I always used to think that the drive across a four kilometre stretch from my house to the main road was a pain. Actually, not all of it was a pain. The car bounced up and down a few bumpy patches the first kilometer, then zoomed across a smooth 2.5 kilometre slope before struggling in a three-legged hurdle race at the final half kilometre. Reason: there was a traffic signal there and almost everyone in the world seemed to want to go somewhere at the same time....

How did the Safety Match Originate?

How did the Safety Match Originate?

Fire was invented when two flint stones were struck together igniting a spark. From earliest times people made fire by either striking flint stones or by rubbing a hard stick against a soft one so that the friction caused soft flakes to peel off and start to smoulder. The only improvement on these primitive methods was the tinder box that contained some steel, flint, and some dry tinder for the spark to ignite. This tinder was often pieces of linen or silk....

Who stole the Candle Wax?

Who stole the Candle Wax?

On every Diwali, known as the festival of lights, our family has a big discussion on the kind of lighting we should have. And after talking about candles or electric bulbs we invariably choose the _diya_s or earthen lamps for their beautiful flames. But last year, we reached the kumhara or potter’s roadside shop a bit too late. The lamps had been sold out and the potter had a big smile on his face. So we decided to light candles....

Why are Moths Attracted to Light?

Why are Moths Attracted to Light?

Have you seen moths zoom into a flame and die? It looks as if they are pulled by some unseen force. It is an unseen force that attracts the moth — the ultraviolent light in the flame, which is invisible to humans. The moth finds it irresistible. It is driven to the light by its mating instinct. Why are Moths attracted to light? Ultraviolet vision helps moths get together in the dark....

Seeing the City

Seeing the City

I have a friend with whom I argue a lot. No, that seems as if I am the one who does the arguing all the time. Half the time it is he who says something ridiculous, and then we start arguing! There is one topic that we keep coming back to argue upon. I have stayed in one city all my life — in Delhi, the capital of India. He from childhood has lived in many places — cities as well as small towns across India....

I Carried the Olympic Torch

I Carried the Olympic Torch

In his early 40s, George Abraham is known as the man who has used the game of cricket to encourage a competitive spirit and confidence among the blind. He is the man who singlehandedly put cricket for the blind on the world map, literally. It was Wednesday, July 10, 1996, the time 11.30 p.m. The telephone rang. It was a call from Coca-Cola, Mumbai. The voice at the other end said, “Can you arrange for a US visa?...

Fire in Water

July 8: A flame moved through water! Unbelievable? But it is true. Fire in Water [Illustration by Sudheer Nath] This was the Olympic flame. It was carried under water last week. Why, one would ask. Because the games are being held in Sydney this year. The Olympic Games are held once in four years. And each time it is held, the Olympic flame is lit in Athens, the birthplace of the games, and carried to the venue of the games....

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