May 9, 2010
It is monsoon season in India and the smell of rain – petrichor– fills the air. I dare not move. The miracles of nature have always entranced me, and I was not going to leave until I see this one complete.

The rain starts to fall and splotches every plant and animal with grimy mud. Everything except one thing; it is this creature that I came to see, undergoing the furious bites of the mosquitoes and flies. A lotus sways incessantly in the breeze, but its waxy skin remains as clean as that of a newborn baby.

The Lotus Effect. It refers to the superhydrophobicity of the Lotus (Nelumbo) plant. Due to high surface tension, water droplets tend to minimize their surface area by adopting a spherical shape, thus sliding off the lotus plant like a beach ball. A simple characteristic shown by this fragile plant leads to a number of wide applications. Self-cleaning paint, roof tiles, glasses. In a world where self-cleaning materials reign, there will be no need for bleach, detergent and the other harsh chemicals that are used today. Progress comes in simple ways. We need not look further than in the bulb of the delicate Lotus plant.

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