Here is something we can do.” Sachin spontaneously suggested to me as we walked around the garden touring Vigyan Ashram. His idea was to use the solar reflector to cook some eggplants. I suggested we experiment, either hanging them on the frame or submerging them in water inside a closed pot. It was from this playful beginning that my time in India unfolded, where everyday I came back to my room with a handful of lessons and, very often, a new funny creation from the workshop.
My main task was to make a plastic injection molding machine. Together with Suvarna, my partner, we finished making the machine and succeeded in melting LDPE pellets. The next step of the project is to create molds and to experiment with some machine hacks. Hopefully in the end, Anirut will be able to implement a plastic recycling program in the town he lives now up in the Himalayas. The process of making is full of roadblocks, especially for an inexperienced beginner like me. For example, something seemingly so simple like drilling a hole into a metal strip may eventually take a while to work on, from looking for the right drill bit to finding a way to clamp the small piece onto the machine. Sometimes, especially on sunnier days, I would feel frustrated about how slowly my work was progressing. Aditya would always come and remind me, “No tension ah?” I finally had a break through one day, when a problem arose just when I felt like I was so close to finishing. With the help of some cheerful friends who came to the rescue as I vented my tension loudly in the workshop, we tossed around ideas and eventually I found a good easy solution to the problem. Of the whole fabrication process, this one fitting of the band heaters onto the tube was my proudest achievement. It was from this occasion that I found some confidence to push back from pressure and take chances whenever a problem presents itself.
At this moment, even with the peace of being thousands of kilometers off the ground, I still find it hard to keep myself from tearing up reminiscing. I am grateful to all of those who made this experience possible, to Reed, to Yogesh, to Vigyan Ashram as a whole, and always, to my family and friends.