Perseverations & Perspiration
by Mudit Srivastava
This story is from the times when I was just 11 years old, now I am 18 & in those days I didn't know that I was an Aspie.
It was our school's science fair. Everybody had to make some science model, like most of the public schools in India, I also had very few resources to make it.
I went home & thought what to do, I decided to prove that sound vibrations can do some mechanical stuff. The inspiration came from a book I had, which said so.
So I decided to make a model in which there would be a closed chamber of cardboard, a burning candle inside it, a funnel type thing peering into it & in the end a membrane where you'd clap & then due to vibrations, you can blow off the candles.
Being an aspie I have attention on every detail, I made a very precise model, no loopholes, no issues whatsoever.
The only problem was the unavailability of a membrane. I had no clue how to make it, or where to get it, or what to ask for, in the shop.
There was no internet either, it is very costly where I live & very slow, and just one science shop to buy things, that too very limited.
So I was hung on this & the submission was next day, I didn't even have any time left to make something else.
I had to make this work & I knew it won't work without membrane & I knew I won't get a membrane.
I guess anyone else would either have dropped it, or would have consulted parents/teacher.
But I have this obsession to do things myself & to complete them no matter what. And I never ask for help from grown-ups as a policy.
So, in the end, I had only one resort, the good old one, library, I don't know what I started reading, but I researched compulsively for a whole day about this & that & then eventually I found something like things made from rubber & from there to latex & from there I finally hit it, a condom was all that was needed
But where to get one, I had no clue. I didn't know whom to ask, so I guessed maybe either general store or a medical store would have it, because it felt like a general daily use thingie.
Well, I took my bicycle & went away from my area, where nobody knew me, found a medical store, he was an old, grumpy man, so I ran away, went to some other medical store, the man asked, "what do you want", I gathered all my courage & with my poker face (I never had any difficulty with that), I asked, gimme 1 condom, being as casual as possible.
He asked, "which one ?"
Oh, damn ! I didn't know any brand names, what to do ?
So I gathered my wits & said, okay, the cheapest one.
He handed me a pack of three, I thought it might be costly like a dollar or something (50 INR), I said you keep these three, I'll take only one. He laughed & said all three are for INR 5, I quickly paid him & ran away.
Next day, in school, I presented my model, it was working well, I was supposed to explain to people how it works, but I was never good with public speaking (now i am awesome !) So i asked my teacher to let my friend explain the concept & lied that I had a throat disease. My friend explained it well, but people asked damn too many questions, I had to intervene & then a very boring technical monologue of 20 minutes, but the teachers were impressed, eventually our class teacher came, congratulated & asked the peon to keep the model in lab.
I was ecstatic.
After a few days, my project caught my principle's attention, because supposedly it was really good, considering my age, for me it was average though. So he called me in his personal office, I went, without any clue, why he had called.
He asked only one question, pointing towards the membrane, "where did you find this ?"
All teachers were laughing & I was smiling too, because I had my result in front of me, A+ :)