Starry Nights?

For the past three-four months, I have been staying in a newly developed area of Bangalore. And during this period, I have not seen a single star. Sounds too dramatic? Something that is said just for effects? But this is true.

Actually I, too, had not noticed this. Then a few weeks ago, a message made rounds on the social media, ‘Tonight, the moon and its star,Alfa touri or Alde baran (locally, we call it Star Rohini) would be closest possible to each other. So don’t forget to see this.’ At night, I watched the sky curiously; I did see the moon, but no sign of Alfa tauri. Then my son pointed out, haven’t you realized it, no stars are seen, at least not in this part of the city sky.

Well, that was true. I tried to keep a watch and see if any stars are seen. I couldn’t find a single. The sky could be cloudy sometimes or may be hazy on few other days, but for all four months?!

This is what the air pollution and smog are doing to our skies. I know this is a little bit of deviation from out topic of #DarknessForStars and light pollution. But even when there is darkness (due to frequent power failures), the sky still remains bleak, dull gray — and blank, totally devoid of any specks of twinkling light.

Agreed, there is an excess of bright light around, especially in the cities. Added to that, every person is attracted, like pins to a magnet, to various ‘enlightened’ screens — be it a mobile, a computer screen or a television screen. So majority of the population has neither time nor inclination to have a look outside to find out what is there in our surroundings, leave alone bother about the far off skies.

Even when people step outside, there are innumerable glittering things around to arrest their attention; so star-gazing is a thing of past. (Or may be it has acquired a new meaning in the new world of metropolises).

So along with the light pollution caused by numerous bright lights, neon signs reflecting to create a sky-glow, we also have to consider the curtain of air pollution / smog that seems to have swallowed up our shiny friends up there. It appears that we have created an additional layer of atmosphere that has blotted out the glittering specks in the sky. The new-age tiny-tots wouldn’t even know the meaning of their nursery rhyme ‘Twinkle twinkle little star….’

 

This post is written in response to IndiSpire Edition 164: #DarknessForStars

[Despite the light around us in cities, we cannot see the most beautiful wonders of all- A glittered night sky. What are your views on light pollution, and memories of those wonderful starry nights? #DarknessForStars ]

In Search of ‘Roots’.

Generally the books that keep you riveted to their pages are — the suspense thrillers. At least, I find the mystery thrillers un-put-downable. But I guess the suspense thrillers are meant to be compulsive page-turners and so, it is no wonder that all these books make a great read.

Truly speaking, I generally remain loyal to my pet genre, not deviating from it towards any other type. But quite a few years ago, someone gifted me ‘Roots’ by Alex Haley.

Just because the book was with me and at that time there was nothing else worth reading, so I thought of giving it a try — and within not time I got hooked to it.

Image result for alex haley

Alex Haley was an American journalist – writer. This book is his research about his family history and his search for his roots which took him to the deep jungles of Africa. This is a saga of how African tribesmen were captured and transported under inhuman conditions to America and sold there as slaves.

One of these was Kunta Kinte (from Gambia), the author’s ancestor, who landed at Annapolis and led a life of a slave on plantations. The story unravels the trials and tribulations of him and his next generations. At times you feel that you cannot go any further and yet, you cannot take your eyes off the book.

This book proved my belief  wrong, that only suspense thrillers make a compulsive read. (Later this book was make into a very successful television mini-series)

There were some controversies about the authenticity of Haley’s claim. (Later the author conceded that it was ‘fusion of facts and fiction’) However, here I have commented on the book only as a reading material — irrespective of whether it is fact or fiction; history or genealogy. And in my opinion, it is an un-put-downable read.

 

(Written in response to IndiSpire Edition #157 at Indiblogger)