Hanuman got close to a lovely flower but sneezed…. Yachhoo! But why? Professor Tung Tang explained it was all about pollen, which spreads trees far and wide
It was a fine spring morning.
The cuckoo was constantly singing. The other birds chirped around the gradually shaping up mango fruits in the orchard.
The bees were in a merry orchestra, humming their wait to have a go at the juice of the golden fruit, and everything was… well…. just yumm!
The naughty eight year old, popularly called Hanuman in his locality was romping about. He loved the mangoes, but they were not yet ripe.
At present the startling hibiscus and marigold flowers were drawing his attention. What beautiful colours, he thought… bright yellow, some a bit on the orange side, but all reflecting the bright sun shining in the sky.
As he neared one flower, the pollen grains – for that is what they are called – went up his nostrils and then YACCHHOOOO! he went….
At that, the bees and a few birds around him fluttered away, shaken by the YACCHHOOOO!
Ufff what WAS that, Hanuman thought!
He looked at the flower and its different parts… the petals, the stamen…. They still looked beautiful, but he dared not get any closer to it… he did not want another huge sneeze!
“Better ask Tung Tang Uncle,” he decided.
Now, Professor Tung Tang is the old and learned man who lives in a house across the road to Hanuman’s house.
He had some curious instruments… from time to time he would take one out and look at the sky for hours, as if he were expecting some real news from the stars and galaxies.
At other times, he would take out his self made violin and start playing it, but would suddenly forget that and start working out some math on a workbook.
“So, here you are, Hanuman, what brings you to me!” Professor Tung Tang greeted Hanuman.
Hanuman told him of the sneeze. “Why should I sneeze if I go close to admire a flower?”
Professor Tung Tang guffawed: “Oh that? That is because the pollen grains got into your nose and irked your nostrils. The pollen is so fine, you see, and you never know when they get into your nose!”
“Stupid stuff, I must say,” Hanuman said.
“Stupid stuff? That is what gives you the mangoes,” the Professor said.
Huh! Thought Hanuman, what has that got to do with my sneeze?
“But Uncle Tung Tang, that is impossible,” Hanuman argued, “the pollen cannot be seen and the mango is so big. How can a pollen create a mango?”
Professor Tung Tang tried in vain to smarten up his crumpled shirt, and said: “You see, pollens are parts of a system in which flowers spread life through them.
“The birds and bees pick up the pollen grains on their wings when they sit on one plant, and when they visit another flower, they drop the pollen from one plant to another. That helps make more trees and so more fruits, the kind you love, you see…”
Having said that, Professor suddenly lost himself in one of his scientific thoughts, and drawing out a workbook, started doing some mathematical work on them, almost unaware that Hanuman was still looking at him.
But then, Hanuman had gotten his answer, a reason why he had to sneeze, and a reason why pollens would someday create more and more mango trees and banana trees and bring him all the goodies in life!
Then he looked at the bees swarming about the flowers in the orchard, and said, “Hey guys, carry the pollen far and wide, so that more and more plants grow, and more, and I have more and more fruits far and wide!”
Also Read : A Flute Leaf, Noise And Music
The author has created this science series for children, in with an eight-year-old boy, his sister Kiran and a maverick scientists obsessed with musical instruments, explore issues in science. DrBhattais a senior science communication specialist and currently works as editor with the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India
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Archita specialises in science communication, and in this series she has created for children, she uses three fictional characters, Hanuman, a bit of an imp, his elder sister Kiran and Professor Tung Tang, a scientist who meddles in musical instruments.