February 06, 2005

This child never cries!

All this happened last month. I just recalled it somehow, today. Quite a weird experience altogether. I shall keep it short and give you just the very essence of what all happened. Last month, a three-day ‘Indian Science Congress’ fair took place. Our prof., Dr. Subhas asked us if we were interested in taking part in it. I do not know what made him do that but finally I was selected to do a project (thank god! the choice of project was left to us). Each of us (there were five) was asked to do something different from the others. We had to meet the deadline which was just a week later.

I had few things in mind. Actually, I started off with a water-level indicator but I had to stop in between as I couldn’t get two of the very important components which go into it. In the end, I started working on ‘theft alarm’, the one usually used in museums. I wasted three days for the first uncompleted device. So, I had just three days left to complete the latter. I completed it within the deadline. I faced some problems with the welding though. On the final day I thought of testing my brain-child. Before I go into explaining the results, let me elucidate the phenomenon regarding its working, for the uninitiated. The main component in it is the light sensitive resistor or simply LED. As the name goes, it is very sensitive to light. So, when light falls on it, it gets activated or putting it in simple words, it eventually passes current.

I placed all this circuitry neatly arranged in a treasure box. When the lid of the box is lifted, an alarm goes off. Everything was ready and I started to test it. The first attempt was successful. I felt very happy. I closed and opened it again. And, to my utter despair, I found that the alarm did not go off. I reopened the circuitry section and checked everything. First I thought the speaker was dead but, it worked well when I checked it with some other device. I re-checked everything- every nook and cranny. It was already 11:30pm and I had to submit it the very next morning. I was so tensed up that I overlooked one of the connections leading to the speaker. It wasn’t properly soldered and that made it a loose contact. I winded up everything and went to sleep.

Next morning, I woke up and soldered it again. I packed everything neatly and went to college. Two of the boys were already present with their devices ready there. I told my prof. that everything was alright and I just needed few more minutes to re-check it. When I opened it again for the last time, I was shocked. The alarm did not go off again. I felt hopeless. I had to submit it within five minutes. My prof. somehow came to know of it all. He came to me and said that it was absolutely alright and I need not feel so bad for it. After all, he had the others’ devices handy. At the last moment I withdrew my submission.

I did not feel like staying at the fair anymore and came back in couple of hours. After reaching home, the first thing I did was to lift the lid of the box. And to my aghast, the alarm went off in a shriek. I couldn’t do anything further but for shutting the lid tightly.

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