Dolly Koghar reminds us that as we look far out and beyond, to remember home is here, on Mother Earth.
I was there when Chandrayaan-3 landed on the hitherto-unseen South side of the Moon on the 4th of September. No! I don’t mean that I was there, on the inhospitable moon without a space suit and spacecraft, but I was there in Bangalore, where the ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) is based.
Bengaluru, its original name, is my primary runaway-to-place from my mundane, unrewarding and erratic daily grind. The flight is barely three-and-a half-hours, not far enough to get thrombosis nor bring on panic-attacks in economy seats squeezed so close that the food tray sits atop the tummy when opened. With my terrible sense of direction, I have some comfort in the familiarity of the streets and bylanes of Bengaluru from my years of living there, although it’s no longer the quiet air-condition city/garden city it was known back then, and has since transformed into a chaotic, hustling-bustling, horn-tooting urban city, like any other Indian metropolis. I’ve also more or less mastered the innuendo of the local lingo, which can be anything between Andhra Pradesh’s Telugu; Chennai’s Tamil, or the Kannada of Karnataka; there’s also the localised Hindi, with its odd amalgamations of grammar and genders.
Meanwhile, while I ruminated on the changes in a single city on Earth, India was busy making history by landing on the moon. With a record-breaking eight million viewers, it was no surprise that the moon landing caused trigger-happy fingers to post a ‘thumbs up’ for the political leap for India and the jumpstart for space exploration. One of the jokes was the Hindu women’s query as to how they can break the karvachaut fast for their husbands’ longevity and health in the eventuality that we emigrate to the moon, as the moon will will no longer be visible from afar.
I’m a die-hard pessimist and always manage to find the black dot, no matter how tiny, on an otherwise, sparkly, clean, white background. I’ll find flaw(s) or the countless possibilities of the sky falling in any given situation. Therefore, though the landing is laudable, it has totally dashed the mystery and mystic surrounding the chandrama’s stature as the shining, unreachable orb, reduced now to nothing but pits and mounds, rocks and gravel. Romance too, has been completely assassinated: songs, poems and ballads with the beauty of the moon are now rendered moot. Frank Sinatra’s and our fascination to, “Fly me to the moon and let me sing among the stars,” is also entirely diminished but for the hard-line sceptics who insist that both the Apollo 11 and Chandrayaan-3 landings are highly-doctored hoaxes.
However, I also saw another post redefining our connectivity to the moon, the big sister, our Bhūlokah; tying rakhee to the little chand brother. It got me thinking: wasn’t our Bhoomi and our Chandra, and all the other moons and twinkling sitarae, and the suraya and black holes and whatever else science has already and yet to discover, already intertwined intricately from time immemorial, and with such meticulous calculation that each body orbits around and within its designated paths as parts of the onevast, expansive Brahmand?
It goes without saying that space research is extremely important so as to better understand our neighbours near and far and in so doing, to better appreciate the beautiful and bountiful Dharti Mata. That is, our Mother Earth, from whose dharti we are formed, and from whose bosom sprouts our nourishment and sustenance. But regrettably, though we’ve reached the depths of oceans and gone way beyond chandra, we have learnt nothing. We’ve stripped raw the dignity of our self-sufficient prithvi and are now looking to encroach onto territories outside of ourselves to plunder their resources. The beautiful chand is worth a thorough study, but it’d be wise to remember, that as much as Earth is our home, the moon is home to the ‘Man on the Moon’ and the ‘Rabbit pounding mochi’ and their kith and kin who inhabit a dimension out and beyond our range of vision and comprehension.