Passion and Flying

Published on: April 23, 2011

There is an interesting aspect of flying which grasps everyone's imagination. The freedom and the control of moving around the space without any obstacle is just too much to ask for, in one man's life :). Isn't it?

As a young kid like everyone, flying was a dream. Not to mention the great stories of Leonardo Da Vinci and the Wrights brothers, who not only dreamt but also went on designing one, would inspire you to believe that some day in future it would be possible to fly like a bird. So let me tell you a short story about myself where I took myself to some limit into achieving this. :) I have been wanting to tell this for a long time but never found any occasion or reason to do so.

[![]( iOD0s6Q/s400/MeThink.png)]( iOD0s6Q/s912/MeThink.png)

It was long ago when I was still in grade 3/4, should be around 1993. Space Channel was just installed in our house and I would spend time watching cartoons and other science programs. That was when I noticed gliders and parachutes. The shear simplicity of the design took me by surprise. Just to be satisfied, I would take a small stone, tie it around a hanky and throw up in the air. Then I would watch it fall slowly and in a balanced manner. It was only after years, I finally understood that it was a phenomenon called Terminal Velocity.

But throwing plastics around was not much fun. So I would take umbrellas of different sizes and jump from certain heights. :) It was very discouraging. Either Umbrellas would flip upside down too fast or nothing would happen. I surely needed to try more than just jumping. This is when I decided that I had to make my own glider. So I waited for TV to show gliders. I wish information was much accessible then. Around that time, libraries were not very accessible and internet was still much of sci-fi things. But I managed to get enough of the design aspect, though it was some what wrong.

So one fine Saturday morning, I got up with a shear determination that I was going to get it done. During those days, Saturday was only the time when you had the whole day for yourselves. School use to run on Sundays and we use to have half-school during Fridays. So on that day, I got up as usual, ate my breakfast, carried my small sketch book and spend some time sketching my design under the sun. I remember carrying such sketch book till the time I was in class 7. After which I some how got lost into mathematics and other heavy reading :). But the shear joy of sketching ideas on a paper still remains.

I figured out that I needed bamboo sticks for framing the glider, plastics for the body and some ropes to tie things around. It was the most basic design you could every find. It had to be triangular in shape of which I was so sure even not knowing its advantages.

So I went around woods to collect bamboos which was not that difficult. The place where I use to live was a decent quarter provided by the office where my father worked, and there were lots of families living nearby. It was a small and healthy society and a lot of children to hang around with. But mostly I was on my own. The picture on side was taken at the time, when I was a big fan of Star Trek and forced my mummy to take the picture of me carrying paper guns and paper badge on my belt.

So once I had the bamboo, I tore down long sheets of plastics which I found in the store house of my home. I use to have tough time getting permission from my mother. A little kid trying to fly on his own is not something that can be encouraged :). But my parents rarely objected me from doing anything. I had my own space to play around. I would do all sort of things like I would wander collecting leaves and naming them, sometime I would collect rare stamps. :) It was all fun. But my mummy never let me collect stones, she was very much against bringing foreign materials inside the house. But whenever I sneaked stones in my room, the other day I would find all gone. I would stomp around the house but mummy would not melt down. :)

Well by the noon time, I had everything around me and I was busy bending bamboos and tying the joints. Getting such things done was never a problem, I had seen my grandfather make amazing bamboo baskets and my grandmother make amazing carpets and stuff out of left out materials. Hence making things was in my gene I would say. Plus, my uncle was a great craftsman who would make amazing stuff out of paper and my father himself had often made a cricket bat, snooker sticks :) out of woods and kites to fly around. Mother had hard time calling me for the lunch :). But I would hurriedly go back to my work and start finishing my project. By the evening, everything was ready. The glider almost more than twice that of my size was ready and I was all happy and smiley for my success. So what was next.

Off-course I had to have my audience for the final demonstration. My audience were the same kids around the place, in front of whom I jumped with an umbrella :). So every one stood by to see me take a flight. Hahaha I love the feeling of remembering those times of utter joy where it was not about any status quo or success, it was about simply doing it and seeing if it could work. I even remember one Saturday going every where carrying a muddy water. I had read in my science class that when a muddy water is placed in a bottle, each particle would settle according to its weight. So I asked my father if that was possible, as my father is majored in soil science there was no way for me to go anywhere else for the reference. So he helped me add muddy water on a bottle and left me with it. So I carried it along the entire day showing off to the kids around. I even remember the other kid carrying a bug in a small box and showing it to me. His father was from the Entomology section.
[![]( la.jpg)]( glider-la.jpg)

Source :
We use to live in the midst of agriculture research center, you can imagine the place we were living in. It was a living research center with high and low lands with fields, trees, and nurseries. Our place was surrounded by small walls made of bamboos. So I planned to jump off the bamboo wall. It had height enough for me to give flight and protect from strong crash landing. By the time I was ready for the flight, I really had no expectation if I was going to be successful or not, there was no pressure, it was just fun. I think in lot of ways, I still retain those characteristics of being very open to the end result. So here I was with hand made glider, rough and tough. It was already getting dark so I made the move as quickly as possible and made the jump :).

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Picture of Pakhribas from Facebook group page.

The picture above is how I still remember the place I spent my childhood. What you are seeing is the front view of the research center with offices and tennis court. My place was somewhere at the top among the midst of clouds.

What happened? Well I crash landed and sprained by ankle a little but not that seriously. I had a full grin on my face for achieving it and all my audience was laughing and having fun. Kids can laugh about anything. But during my jump, I did manage to gain a flight, a true flight that lasted for micro- seconds but I felt it through my heart. It really filled my heart with joy and gave me the belief that it was possible to fly. The experience was real no matter how long it lasted. I was on the air, master of the flight for at least few seconds and that was enough for me.

Off-course, the only thing I feared then was getting beating from my mummy. :) The night was over and the show had ended. I abandoned the left debris from my flight and entered the house. A yet another day had ended but full of adventure and experience, which was sure to be etched in my memory for a long time. Now I remember those times and feel happy about it. I still try to make everyday count in some ways by doing things that gives me a full experience of being in control. I think I never stopped doing so and will never. Everyday is yet another day for me to experiment with my logic and make yet another glider and take for a flight.