A minus shapes the plus

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle – Albert Einstein

It is a fine Monday evening and we are sitting in the JOS Lab, taking a break of five minutes before the next batch arrives when a family starts entering the Lab. I am preparing my usual polite speech to the parents requesting them to stand outside the lab while we conduct their child inside when I catch Pinal’s expression. She is signaling something with her eyes. The boy is far sighted than most of us. He is differently-abled.

All the colorful pictures around the lab, all the hands- on activities and even the certificate that we are distributing suddenly starts feeling like a big joke. Can we let this child know that Science is joyful by utilizing his imagination rather than making him see it? I am scared to say anything. With other children it is easier to keep them hooked with the displays; here I don’t want to say the wrong thing and make him feel uncomfortable. I can see he is nervous too. Pinal presses my hand firmly and whispers softly, “Come on, Saumya, our real challenge is to make Science joyful for him”

I dare myself to go near him. His parents are standing there, expecting me to take a hold of the whole situation and the burden of expectation is freaking me more. I take his hand and lead him to the ‘Your Weight – Beyond Earth’ panel. His hesitation is obvious and expected. Still I trace his hands over the different weight indicators explaining him the concept of weights and how his weight on Sun is 1870 kg. There! I see a ghost of smile on his face! As I talk with him further and explain him weightlessness and how toilets are used in space, I have got him laughing. We give him candy and a toy. The ones he can taste and feel…

It is imagination and a curiosity that every child must have, Subojit Dutta had it both. When he entered the JOS he was not ready to hold my hand and when it is time to leave he is not ready to let go. He is holding on to the source that can catalyze his vivid imagination only to comprehend reality for science is beyond theory or pragmatism. Science is rather a brainchild of fact and fantasy.

The real challenge is of unlearning to actually succeed in learning was then realized. If there is any such thing as a life changing event, this is one. It made me realize the importance of what we have been doing and gave me the satisfaction of fulfilling my duty as a Science Communicator. I can never be thankful enough to SECAS for giving me one of the best moments of my life.

Saumya Saxena – As told to the SECAS Blog Team: Nitin, Yashashree and Ritu!

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(Saumya Saxena is a happy go lucky spirit whose wonderful interactions with the visitors are a source of envy for many 😉 To do or not to do is never a question for her. A Biotech Engineer by profession and a foodie by choice, she can feed you with food and wisdom when you are in depths of despair. Witty and ready with quips, she is indeed a diamond cuts diamond exemplar.)

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