Have I ever told you how much I love space?
The first time I ever managed to foster an ambition, I was 10 years old fashioning a blunt hair cut, dirty brown hoodie and eyes that weren’t blind without glasses. Hopping up and down with the kind of earnestness you expect from a kid who believes he’s just found his purpose in life, I announced with as much resolve as I could, “Mum, when I grow up, I will be an astronaut.”
In return I was thrust with a bag full of clothes that needed dry cleaning.
But my passion never snuffed. I went ahead and made a fat, exhaustingly detailed project on ‘The Solar System’ for my yearly submissions and ended up getting full marks.
“If I can get full marks here, I can surely become an astronaut”, my ten year old brain schemed eagerly.
But then I grew up. And slowly with each passing year and with the arrival of Physics, Chemistry and Math died my dream of ever stepping into space. Later arrived teenage angst, thick glasses and youthful indiscretion and my love for stars and planets was unwillingly buried under copious amounts of schoolwork.
After a decade when I unearthed that passion again and held it in my hand it seemed to throb with life; it was old but stronger and fiercer. And now when I look at it with grown up prudence I understand that my love for space has always been solely from an artists perspective.
I love the stars for being stars. I see space as a vast painting, I see it as a gigantic portal of beauty and wonder. I feel a life in the cosmos. When the universe takes deep breaths our sky shakes a little. Meteors are sparkling messages from one galaxy to another. When the sky is pink, someone’s wish has been answered, when it is grey, somewhere someone’s heart is heavy. The universe is a huge, magnificent work of art, one that we’re too small and too puny to comprehend but too nosy to not be part of. It is for this reason that when you gaze at the night sky dotted with silver stars, your problems don’t seem so big.
This is how the artist in me has romanticized space and this is how it shall always be.
On December 13th after midnight, I lay on my terrace alone and watched the night sky slowly emblazoned with a dozen meteors. There was complete stillness except for an occasional brush of cold, frigid wind. First there was a small, thin streak of silver light slowly piercing the velvety dark and I gulped and shivered a little.
And before I even blinked, the night was embellished with a splendid meteor shower and I soaked it in with bated breath and gaping eyes. It was an ethereal scenery painted by some strange, elusive artist.
Reader, it was the most beautiful and heart warming feeling I ever experienced.
While the night before me swirled and danced with a thousand shades of gold, a strange, subdued part of me whispered and tugged at my sleeve. It made me turn my head and stare at the empty space next to me. Subconsciously I wondered how it’d be to experience something this miraculous next to someone. It’d be comforting to look sideways and smile in between, no?
The Geminid meteor shower arrives every December. I close my eyes and make a wish.
Maybe years from now on some December evening, the universe would be considerate and the sky will be pink, for me.
Close your eyes.
Turn off the lights.
Listen to it alone.
P.s- I hope everyone realizes the above piece is purely fictional. There’s no way I could’ve watched the Geminid Meteor Shower from my terrace in the heart of a bustling city. But since I yearned to experience it, I chose to live the event by wondering and writing about how it would feel like.
That’s all I could do, couldn’t I?