How mad can an engineer be? It remains an unanswered question. But how crazy can an engineer be in his childhood? Analyse yourself after reading these incidents of my life.
(FYI : All the incidents in these stories are real, and any coincidence of the incidents with any other individual, is purely incidental. I reserve the rights to narrate my own stories.)
1. The very first fascination of my life, related to engineering, was electric motor. In my case, it the fan in our room, that went round and round, on a flick of a switch. I was too much interested in it. And it had a regulator, which had to be rotated to increase or reduce the speed. I was really interested in knowing what went inside to make the fan rotate. And my interest inspired me to build up a crude theory that there was a smaller motor inside the regulator, which turned upon the rotation of the regulator knob, and it somehow made the fan to rotate.
Why I thought this, I still cant figure out. I was too small to understand the meaning of most of the words I have typed above. I never knew the word theory, or that fan, as it was called, which was actually a motor, or why a regulator was called so. But I had a desire to get the imaginary “small motor”, out of the regulator.
Once there was no one at home, and I decided to fulfill my desire. The regulator was housed in a casing which had charred of from the top, due to the heat generated in it. I inserted my tiny fingers in through the top.
It was my lucky day, as I was standing on a wooden bed and only few fingers of my hand were touching the wall. I was thrown away by the electric shock on to the mattress and escaped shaken, but without injuries. My desire for the motor vanished, and during engineering, I found it to be my weakest subject.
2. Then after a few years my maternal uncle bought a scooter. And I was very much interested in its working. By that time I had read some of the volumes of ‘Young Scientist’ in our school library. And somewhere in those volumes, was the theory of thermocouples which became a point of interest for me. Now, I knew that scooter burned petrol for its power, but I was unaware of a machine called as internal combustion engine, residing inside the scooter.
On analysing deeper, the problem at hand(how scooter works?), and the limited data I had acquired(working of thermocouples), my somewhat adult mind put two and two together. I later found out that by putting two and two together, the answer that I had got was zero. Because I had made up a theory that the petrol burnt up to give out enough heat for one electrode of the thermocouple and the other electrode was placed somewhere far at the front of the scooter to allow proper cold temperature at that point. Armed with this theory, I completed my junior years in the college, and even educated my younger brother about it.
My theory was ultimately negated by the subject IC engines in the fourth semester of engineering.
3. The third incident also involved IC engine and my brother. My brother, luckily had an appetite for all the information and explainations I conjured about anything, with even doubting once….Not so now, after so many years of foolery.
I was in the second year of engineering, the first engineer to be in my family, and after completion of the third semester, our family went to Goa for a picnic. Once while crossing a river, we used the roll-on roll-off ferry boat service, and me, the ‘to be engineer’ of the family, choose to seat near the engine room, which offered a good view of the loud, smoky, oily engine.(I had no idea, that I would go ahead and become a marine engineer. But thats how fate works.) So as I was sitting there, admiring the oily, ugly thing, my brother approached me and asked what that black noisy thing was? And I informed that it was an engine. I had read somewhere about the different types of engines like 2-stroke and 4-stroke. And upon seeing the engine structure, I immediately “recognised” it to be a 3-stroke engine.
Any mechanical or automobile engineer will laugh at me at this point. There is no such thing as a 3-stroke engine. There are just 2-stroke and 4-stroke engines, depending upon the number of power strokes for every rotation of the engine. What I had seen were the three cylinders of the boat engine, and assumed that they were 3-stroke. I even informed my brother that 3-stroke were more powerful as compared to 2-stroke, but less powerful than 4-stroke. My brother swallowed all the information and basked in the glory that his elder brother was so well informed.
My this theory was again negated by IC engines in the semester that followed immediately. As I reached home from the college home that day, the first thing I did was to tell my brother the truth. I didn’t want him to be laughed at.
He stopped believing in my theories from then on….
So, can’t you gauge how crazy an engineer can be in his childhood?
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