There are various stories about how the  great scientist Sir Isaac Newton came up with the theory about ‘the laws of gravity’. Most of these stories revolve around an apple falling from a tree. People have various versions of the story — about when did the apple fall ? from which particular tree did it fall ? did it or did it not fall on Newton’s head ?

The scientific minded intellectuals are more interested in possible questions that the apple raised in Newton’s mind – ” Why should that apple always descend perpendicularly to the ground ? Why should it not go sideways or upwards, but constantly to the earth’s centre ? ”

Now just think about a slight & funny change in location here – what if Newton was not in England, but in Kerala or Goa on that particular day.  First, the probability would be very high that he would have seen a coconut falling and not an apple. And then, given the number of coconut trees around, it would have been very likely that as he sat there, thinking of the many things going around in his intelligent head, the coconut would have landed on that very head !

The result might have been something very very different. Maybe the world today would have heard & read more about how amnesia caused by a freak accident robbed the world of a great scientist.

Or, like my young neighbour of many years ago, Bittu, had asked his 7th standard Science teacher – “So, if Isaac Newton had not found “gravity”, would that have meant us living in a world where nothing falls down ?

P.S. Writing about apples reminds me about the “HPMC – Apple Juice Stall” on Platform no. 1 at Bombay V.T station (or Mumbai C.S.T – to be politically correct). Wonder if the stall is still there ?  That was the place which introduced me to the sweet world of apple-juice, during my school-days … and I have remained addicted since then.

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