Childhood research experience

What will happen if soap water and rice are mixed for one, two, or three days? This was the question I asked myself as a young boy. Driven by sheer curiosity, I mixed those constituents—there were others, which I cannot remember—into a little container, stored it under my bed, and left it there for several days, hoping that something unusual would soon happen. Every day I would observe whether there were any changes, but I could not remember other changes except the distinct smell that the mixture gave me after several days. This could have been disappointing for a young boy eager to find something extraordinary, yet the experience proves to be a memorable one as I recall it today. Growing up in a small town, I found my surroundings fascinating and they easily became objects of my observation. I remember also during my childhood, in the aftermath of rain there would be a body of water flowing in front of my house. I would then make paper boats and place them on the water surface. It was fun to see the flow sending the small boats away and I would be happy if the boats made it to their destination—the drain. These experiences which coloured my childhood were my first experimental ‘research,’ where often the tools and equipments were supplied by nature itself. The satisfaction of being able to witness how nature works was most rewarding, and puerile curiosity became an effective agent to bring about that satisfaction.

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