SKY HIGH Children

Of flying and freedom

Meghnath takes the dart paper plane to the soldiers’ training area, where Ravana uses lions to trains soldiers to become fearless and strong. But Meghnath does not fear the lions; in fact, they behave like puppies with him.

Ravana’s brother, Vibheeshana, is shocked to see this. He runs to Kumbakarana to tell him about it.

Vibheeshana: Brother, Meghnath is playing with lions!

Kumbakarna: Obviously! He is my nephew; he has no fear.

Vibheeshana: But, he is too young and it is dangerous. You must do something about it.

Kumbakarna: I will let Ravana and Mandodari know. They will take care of it.

****

The next day, Mayasura takes the Pushpaka vimaan and flies to Talatalaloka, his kingdom. Seeing this, Meghnath has some questions for Ravana.

Meghnath: Dad, unlike grandpa’s flying machine, the paper plane doesn’t have any engines. Why do you still call it an aircraft?

Ravana: Son, anything that lifts itself up against gravity, powered by air, can be called an aircraft. This dart plane can also be called a “Paper Glider”. It glides through the air, unlike grandpa’s aircraft which is propelled by fans and engines.

Meghnath: I’ve always wondered how you and grandpa fly such a huge machine! Do we need super powers to control it?

Ravana: Ha ha! Not at all! You just need to know simple air-science. Once you do, you will also be able to fly one.

Meghnath: Really? Can you please teach me now?

Ravana: Of course. But first, let me teach you some basic things about aircrafts, starting with the different parts of the plane (See image). Many of these terms are derived from ships, which were the first big mode of transport that people were familiar with for centuries.

Of flying and freedom

****

Meghnath: Thanks, dad. Before you teach me more, let me go and have a quick snack.

Ravana: Wait. I wanted to talk to you about something I heard — that you are playing with lions. It is very dangerous. You must not do that.

Meghnath: They are not dangerous. I feed and play with them every day. They are my friends. But, dad, they are becoming sadder and weaker. I think they are better off in the forest; it is where they truly belong, just like how planes belong in the sky.

Ravana: I realise my mistake. I will order the soldiers to release them into the wild where they belong.

Meghnath: Thank you, dad!

****

That evening, a few thousand kilometres away, a cute little half-human, half-monkey boy wakes up from a deep sleep. He is very hungry. He calls out to his mum, but she isn’t to be seen. Unable to control his hunger, he looks around for food. All he can find is a juicy orange hanging from the tree outside his house. Hanuman is tempted...

To be continued...

The author is the founder and CEO of Vaayusastra Aerospace, an IIT-Madras incubated ed-tech startup that offers Air Science workshops for children between five and 14 years.

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Printable version | Apr 11, 2021 1:16:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/of-flying-and-freedom/article33902666.ece

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