Children who visit P D Ravindra's home in Banshankari are in for a veritable treat. For the 74-year-old has virtually turned it into a museum of sorts for objects d' art fashioned out of household material. A compulsive inventor, Ravindra has even named his "science museum" Amma Saraswati Loka after his mother.
But what makes him a man with a mission is that while he invents, he makes sure that it is passed on to the newer generation, especially children.
The curiosity that he sees in the eyes of the future generation seems to be the best remuneration for his passionate efforts.
For a young mind, the place may even be inspirational. Take for instance the drum-sized bubble machine, Bubbly Bubbly which educates children about compressed air, hydraulics and surface tension. On the garden terrace, among other things are a shuttle launcher, a bubble maker, a dancing fountain, a giant stargazing umbrella, a kaleidoscope and a periscope.
Of all gadgets, Ravindra's favourite is the cycle-cum-wet grinder, which he uses to exercise and grind. "I call it exercise bike-cum-wet grinder. I designed and made it all by myself using whatever resources available," he says. Ravindra is also passionate about the rotating mobile traffic control booths designed by him. "Unfortunately, it lies here as an exhibit. I did make a presentation to the then traffic commissioner in 1981 but he thought it was useless."
Ravindra's urge to invent is a childhood streak. "I always wanted to use things that I had made including kites. So very early on, I started making small inventions." Ravindra graduated in Mechanical Engineer from BMS College of Engineering in 1961. After working with Karnataka Electricity Board for a few days , he joined HAL. "By sheer luck, I was placed in maintenance department, which I feel is like a hospital because here too we check and analyse machines," he says.
As chief of maintenance at HAL, Ravindra converted waste material into test equipment and was awarded by an aerospace company for his pioneering work.
Ravindra resigned from HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) at the age of 42 so that he could tinker with his ideas and come up with useful machines.
"I started work right here in my balcony with a sum of Rs 10,000." One of his first few innovations was an electrical wet grinder for personal use.
"It's all thanks to my father who gave me a free hand to tinker around his old cars. I designed test equipment for Jaguar and Mirage aircrafts. I am also happy to have developed 45 types of import substitutes during my time at HAL."
Now, Ravindra is glad to pass on his passion for science and innovation to children. "I even visit some schools to teach them some small inventions. Many elderly women approach me to teach their grand children."
What worries him nowadays is the lack of personnel to take care of his museum.
"My children are settled in the US. Who will look after my science museum?" Ravindra hopes to find a solution by creating an association of like-minded people. "So many items like the space-saving furniture, convertible chair, sofa-cum-bed have the potential to be made at low costs. All it needs is some marketing which at this age is beyond me," he signs off.