While Hanuman, Nala, and Nila are working on their science experiments, another person in another part of the forest is working on his own experiments.
Vali, the king of Kishkintha, has some of the most powerful boons any vanara king has ever had. Currently, he was trying to improve his magic skills. Vali’s celestial father, Indra, was known for his skill in disguises. Every now and then, Indra would teach Vali some of his techniques of creating illusions.
Indra: Did you know that, much later in the future, November 14 will be celebrated as Children’s Day in India?
Vali: A day to celebrate children! How thoughtful!
Indra: It’s actually the birthday of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru who loved children. Hence his birthday will be celebrated as Children’s Day. He became Prime Minister after India won independence from British rule in 1947.
Vali: How did ruled by someone from another empire come to rule Inida?
Indra: Once India’s unity was destroyed, anybody could rule over it. Like they say, united we win, divided we fall.
Indra foresees a similar situation in Vali’s future.
Indra: Son, keep this lesson in mind and assure me that you will not fight with your brother.
Vali: As long as people are good to me, I will be good to them.
Indra: All right. Now moving on to the purpose of my visit today: to teach you how to create an illusionary fountain. It will come in handy when you want to escape from the enemy.
Vali: That sounds interesting!
Indra knows that Vali will soon need this technique to fight the asura, Mayavi.
Transparent plastic cup
Small sheet of paper (Size of a sticky note)
Toothpick or skewer
Step 1: Using a toothpick or skewer, poke a hole into the transparent plastic cup and place it upside down on a flat surface.
Step 2: Roll a piece of paper and insert it into the hole.
Step 3: Light the end of the paper outside the cup.
Step 4: Wait for about 20 seconds to see the magical waterfall pour out of the paper tube.
The Science: When the paper burns, it breaks down into water vapour and a mixture of several gases. The flame makes these hot smoke molecules lighter than air, which is why you see smoke rising into the air. Because of the paper tube, these molecules are trapped inside, preventing them from rising up. Being trapped inside gives them time to cool down, making these molecules heavier than air again. This is why the cooled smoke now falls down through the end of the paper tube, creating a waterfall effect.
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.