Can stones float? – The Hindu

Hanuman hears about the curse on Nala and Nila, a curse that will have an impact in the future…

Hanuman hears about the curse on Nala and Nila, a curse that will have an impact in the future…

NOTala and Hanuman are on their way to meet Nala’s brother, Nila. Nala shares stories from their childhood.

Hanuman: Nila seems extremely skilled.

Nala: It’s nothing! Want to see something even more amazing?

Hanuman: Sure!

Nala picks up a stone and throws it into the water. Hanuman’s eyes widen in surprise, as the stone floats in the water instead of sinking!

Hanuman: How did you do that?

Nala: When my brother and I were toddlers, we lived near the hermitage of sage Sutikshna who worshiped God in the form of a stone called “shaligram” (a special type of black stone collected from the bed of the Gandaki river in Nepal).

Nala draws the stone, which looks like a spiral. Technically, the stones are fossil ammonite shells of cephalopods that existed around 66 million years ago.

Nala: For us, the stone looked like a toy. So we picked it up and threw it in the water. The sage got angry and cursed us that any solid object we throw into the water will never sink.

Hanuman: It sounds more like a superpower than a curse.

They laugh.

Nala: Nila and I were wondering if there was a scientific explanation behind the fluttering stone. So we experimented with different models.

Hanuman: This is not at all surprising, considering that you are the sons of Vishwakarma, the great architect. So did you manage to figure it out?

Nala: Yes. We managed to build a model that could float. It’s called a hovercraft.

Hanuman: Can you show me how to build one too?

Nala: Sure! (Scroll down for instructions to build the hovercraft model.)

While Nala talks about her “curse”, Hanuman does not realize that she will play an important role in the future: in the construction of the pontoon bridge that will take Rama and his army to Lanka to defeat Ravana.

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

How to build a hovercraft

How To Build A Hovercraft | Photo credit: Satheesh Vellinezhi

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