Forest in a Petri Dish

Update as of 5 November 2009


Science classes in school were always fun for me. A classic project that many of us may have participated in is that of the bean seed germination. The project usually started at home, cajoling mothers to part with half a dozen rajma beans and a handful of cotton. In class the next day, the beans would be buried under some cotton in a petri dish or a glass beaker and watered enough. A day later the red beans would plump up and later that evening, when we would be ready to leave school, we would notice a small white shoot grow at the “eye of the bean”. The third day morning, we would surprised to see a white thread like growth pointing downwards while a stronger light green growth point upwards with a knobby darker green stub at its upper end. This is the difficult part, since we are not allowed to touch the seeds or the seedlings and almost feel the anguish of the growing bean which “struggles” to get out of the cotton surface and grow. And then it breaks free and the “knobs open up”. We are taught that these are still not the leaves, but the cotyledons that lay inside the seed and provided the food needed for the seed to germinate and grow its leaves. By afternoon of the third day, the triangular leaves emerge at the top and take over the role of food manufacturer for the seedling and then keep growing aggressively. Green shoots, darker green leaves and when the 5 or 6 seedlings have germinated together, they resemble a small forest in a petri dish!

The D Street Boyz spend a lot of time juggling with numbers, but don’t ignore their science classes. Today they saw the bean seed germination – all in a day’s work. So in the morning, when the SENSEX opened, it was red – like the bean, and below the surface. Then like the swelling bean, the SENSEX dug deeper, until some cathartic event occurred (perhaps the shoot and root emerged) and the SENSEX turned. It moved upwards and almost pierced the surface, but sunk thereafter – perhaps like the knobby end of the shoot, but it was determined to break the surface and emerge out with enough green. The SENSEX just went greener as times passed by. The winds were also favourable, as windmills saw the highest gain today – 13% and the SENSEX outgrew the 16000 mark to end at 16063 – up 151 points.

Some students would bring along other seeds for this project – greengram, black-eyed beans. These grew faster than the reddish rajma bean, but the thrill of a slow motion “coming to life” is an experience for keeps.



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