Friday, August 29, 2003
PERSONAL : Star-crossed
There are some events in an individual's lifetime that are repeated so, so rarely in history that missing them is inviting eons of ridicule for all your pushts/generations to come. It's like an English soldier when asked where he was during the 45-minute war, replies that he was on the pot (metaphorically speaking, of course), blissfully unaware.
August 27th 2003, seemed to be one of those days. Due to all the publicity received by the event in the papers, National Geographic, Discovery channels and not the least of all, Rediff, everyone in the world knew about Mars being closest to Earth than it had been in the past 60000 years. I was dragged there, by Busybee who is as far out there, as Mars.
So after a gruelling (sic!) day's work at office, we managed to reach Birla Planetarium at 8.30pm to get a sight of the red/orange/whatever planet. The sight that greeted us, was no lesser than the Kumbh mela which I have seen in Allahabad. Chattering Tam families, yapping kids and hawkers galore greeted us with a queue that at first sight, made me remember my Data Structures professor from college days. It was indeed what they always refered to as a "circular queue". After we managed to decipher the tail end of the line, Ankh used all his statistical fundae to estimate that the amount of time taken to reach Mars would be at least 2.5 hours.
So we stood there, talking, crawling through the masses, (me wondering why I wanted to see Mars so badly), Busybee and Ankh (who fell prey to that age old problem of "If you've waited this long in the line, you might as well wait till you get there) refusing to budge, we braved the crowds, the smells and the bratty kids and of course, hunger. Ankh wondered if that distant light in the distance was Mars, only to realize that they were the approaching Indian Airlines flights. Ankh realized that there the similarities ended with the air-hostesses (pc: flight attendants). Wise Kingsley, stayed in office, working, hoping to sigh another day.
Finally when we did get a peek into the telescope, all I could see was a tiny dot in the sky.
Was it orange, you ask? If it wasn't, I have since deluded myself into believing that.
The only takeaway from the evening, was the beautiful woman I saw there, who I was told, obviously later, was a Pakistani. I am now a convert. Only if the rest of India would be so easy.
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Black - Strong
Kashmiri - Nutty
Nilgiri - Easy