Those 'Turshi' Days !!! - 1

I was browsing through some sites by the TamilNadu government, and guess what did I stumble upon ??

This site.
Brought back really awesome memories.

I quickly got to the experiments section of Physics text book for Tenth Standard.
The first experiment took me to a different world altogether.

Srimathi Ma'm was my Physics teacher for the lab, during my 9th standard. And as was the process in 'those' days (makes me sound old, nevermind), we used to study tenth portion in 9th standard. (though we bleddy never got close to 'state-level' marks, that is a different question altogether, and the one lady who got that is now not in this world. So chill)

We used to have these lab sessions. Actually these periods were good time-pass. You fry Kadalai on the sly and make it look as if you were doing experiment. (That I did the same even in college is something that is supposed to make me red, but hell..)

Srimathi Ma'm was very strict in the lab. I remember she once thrashed a guy because he could not balance the scale in the 'Priciple of Moments' experiment. Anyway. Here goes...

It so happened, I was alloted the Simple Pendulum Experiment. This was not the first experiment class. Actually the third. Now all of us knew that the aim of the experiment was to calculate the value of g. And all of us bleddy knew that it was 9.81 m/s2. But here was the catch.

If you got that value in the result post the experiment, you had it coming. Srimathi Ma'm would look at you as if you were a leper or something. Folks would rather absent themselves from lab classes and meet the principal (also a Physics Teacher - shit !!!) and face the lecture rather than 'earn' that disgusting look from her.

Whenever she got an observation notebook that said g = 9.81 m/s2, her blood pressure rose.

'How the hell did you get 9.81 m/s2'.
'Miss, I did it.'
'I know what you did. You were talking to that girl and playing with that tube.'
'No Miss. I did it. I am getting the correct answer also.'
'Chup. I know what the correct answer it. Redo the experiment.'

Her argument was that, how could one get exact figures, when you were actually in a lab, with cross ventilation, on a building that stood with shaky foundations, with the lab on the first floor. Not the exact environment for someone to calculate g with a precision of 2 decimal places.

Man, she had a point. !!! And that is when the villain in me, reared its head.

I knew, no matter how correctly I did the experiment, she was going to pinpoint mistakes in the readings or the diagram. So this is what I did. I 'recreated' the experiment on paper, all over again.

Yes, you read that right !!!

And in case you did not comprehend it, I 'manipulated' the readings. And the word manipulation is actually underplayed. I 'manufactured' the readings. Yes, that sounds right.

I took the value of g=9.767 (more decimals indicate more accuracy. That was what I thought in those days.)

Since 4*pi^2 was a constant, I took it to the other side and calculated the value of l/T^2. And then the madness started.

It took me just half an hour to get the values in place. Realistic values, mind it. I also had to make sure, my figures of l and T were 'close' to the ones obtained by experiment. So after doing all this manipulation, I finally got the answer. :). Sorry, I 'derived' the answer.

Now I went to the lab-incharge to show the results. He took one look and said,
'Go to Miss and get it corrected.'

Srimathi Ma'm was busy correcting the Unit Test Notebooks. She was not expecting anybody else to come up with experiment results atleast for the next half an hour.
Now Srimathi Ma'm had a soft corner for me. And I had a soft corner for her. (er.. You know what I mean, so quit digging into my past. :P)

'Yes, Hari.'
I extended my observation.
Without bothering to look at it, she said, 'If you've finished the drawing and the text, go and wait near the equipment to do the experiment Hari.'
'What ??'
'I finished the experiment'
'What ? Show.. Show me the observation.'

For a split second I think I saw shock on her face. Then she recovered. She looked at me and then looked at the observation again. The constant rubbing and writing on the notebook, was what alerted her, I think. She quickly said,
'When all others are getting 9.81 why are you getting 9.76 ?'
I did not know what to say. This was Total பல்டி.
I could not even give her back that 'perfect-environment' shit also.
So I said again, this is the answer that I got.
She said, 'Hari, seriously I don't believe you.'
I said, 'Fine ma'm. You check the actual experiment for two readings and then let me know.'

My heart was thumping away like Shatabdi. I should have thought before I spoke. Shit. What would happen if the values did not match. Shit Shit Shit !!! I was all set to be persecuted in glory.


We reached the place where the experiment was being done. She shoo'ed away everybody and took the pendulum in her hands. She examined it for some time. And then asked me,
'What is the value of your first reading.I want l'
'30 cms.'

She measured it and then started the experiment. I don't remember what was the value, but it almost came quite close to what I had written. There was only a minor difference in T^2 value. That's all. She was not convinced. Second Trial. l=45 cms. Again, I had hit the nail on the head.

Then she took my observation notebook and came back to her desk. I followed her. She did not even look at me, when she signed the experiment. But I knew she was damn impressed. From that day onwards, I had become her favorite student.

I was given 9.5/10, and a V.Good, something which Srimathi ma'm never gave for anybody for the next three years we were in school.

P.S :- The other folks who actually did the experiment with me on that day, got values ranging from 6.2 to 7.6 and they were asked to re-do the experiment.

They were even given lecture as to 'learn from Haricharan, how to do an experiment. One simple experiment you people can't do, I don't know how you people are going to pass Xth standard. :)

P.P.S :- The above incident does not intend to disrespect the educational system in the state. I use it as an opportunity to tell myself, sometimes, process does not take you anywhere, but manipulation does. :P

P.P.P.S :- Srimathi Ma'm, if you ever come across this post, please don't disown me !!! :P You made me look at Physics in different light, by your unconventional teaching techniques and I am eternally grateful to you for that. :)

P.P.P.P.S :- Srimathi Ma'm, always wore a saree to school !!! :P :P

P.P.P.P.P.S :- 'Turshi' in Arabic is Salad.

Thursday, October 28, 2010 by Hari
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