Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dark Side Of The Moon

Have you ever seen the Northern Lights? I was looking at some pictures of those yesterday and my mind sky-rocketed into a world I had known as a child…the world of stars and galaxies.

As a child I had immense fascination for Astronomy. In fact when I was less than 3 years old, my father had bought a book on the subject from A. H. Wheeler and Company. We used to live in Gondia then. This book was titled ‘Astronomy’ and was published by Piccolo. It was a medium sized book with a wealth of information (that included tips on taking pictures of the night sky and making your own solar-eclipse viewer). And though I could not make the head or tail of it at that age, there is telling evidence that I had read the entire book at 3…I had marked the entire book using my father’s signature Luxor black pen, long flowing marks on the faces of Jupiter and Neptune…evidence that ‘Anu was here’.

I have read that book at least 15 to 20 times in the course of growing up and I’m not even kidding…I really have. Then of course I had all the other books on Astronomy we bought over the years the culmination being a 24-Volume Encyclopaedia, 2 volumes of which were dedicated to Astronomy. I loved reading about Stars – blue and red, Galaxies, Planets and their characteristics, their satellites, Binary stars, Novae and Supernovae, Black Holes…I could read that stuff for hours. I would look at the Star Maps and spend time on the terrace trying to identify constellations and stars – Libra, Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Orion, Sirius, Mizar & Alcor…in fact I still get the monthly star maps in my Yahoo Mailbox…I really enjoyed that phase of my life and the knowledge I gained from it.

What appeared at the very beginning in these books I read, even the most basic ones, was our closest celestial relative, the Moon. And that’s where the muse started by the Northern Lights ended.

The Moon has been associated with beauty and love forever now. Umpteen comparisons have been made with that mellow glow in the sky and yet it continues to fascinate us. It waxes and wanes…it disappears and reappears…but it is always there and it’s the closest to us. And no one can overstate the importance of this celestial body in the Indian context where an entire calendar has been structured to follow its movements.

Like the Moon, there are beautiful people in your life too. People who are close to you. People who wax and wane in their moods and behaviours…disappear from your lives sometimes…reappear at others. But people who are always there.

The Moon brings light to our lives on dark nights…its very sight. It brings hope when the Sun is not around. So it is with some people in life. Their very presence, their sight can light up your life.

But the moon has a dark side. One that we have never seen. One that we will never see from where we stand. And that dark side could have anything in store – craters and cracks or treasures. But it is not for us to know.

People have dark sides too… attributes we do not know of…a past we are not familiar with…a future that is yet to be unfolded…qualities we haven’t discovered. It does not necessarily imply something negative…it is just something we are unaware of about the person. But from where we see them, it is a side we will never get to discover…maybe it is buried deep inside…maybe the person has changed…maybe it is a dormant side that will never see the light of the day…maybe it is hidden potential that will never be tapped. It is hidden nevertheless.

It is not for us to fret over what lies on the dark side. The bright side of people brings us the light and hope needed in life. Their changing phases bring daily change and excitement to life. If it is a night of the new moon when you haven’t seen the ones you love, nothing compares to the thrill of sighting that beloved crescent the next day and watch it grow. One will have to go out of the orbit to see the dark side and who knows if you can ever return from there. From where we stand, all we need to see to sustain ourselves through life is the bright side…keep your face to it and beauty and love will flood your life…its what the Moon has always stood for.

7 Thinkers Pondered:

Anonymous said...

Hey Anupama - very nice article! Loved your analogy :)

Have been reading your blog for a while now and enjoying it too :)


Sowmya said...

Nice post Anu. I have been a fan of astronomy too. And Orion is

something that I have been following since I was 12 years old.

I recommend the book A brief History Of Time by Stephen Hawking.

The thing about moon and people in life is also very good.

Just a small correction... one does not have to go to outside the orbit

to see the other side of the moon, just a shift in Geography will be


If you go to North America, you will see the other half of the moon

which we will never see from India... :) as far as people are concerned, yes... perhaps one should not try to see the other side... you may never be able to come back once you go out of orbit.

deepocean said...


I liked this bit a lot And

though I could not make the head or tail of it at that age, there is telling evidence that I had read the entire book at 3…I had marked the entire book using my father’s signature Luxor black pen, long flowing marks on the faces of Jupiter and Neptune…evidence that ‘Anu was here’.

This is both humourous and well presented. :))

Good analogy with reference to people. Liked it a lot. :)

SpinalTap said...

and I thot u'd done a bit on Pink Floyd :P

Anupama said...

Hey Smita,

Would like to welcome you to the blog officially since I came to know only now...thanks a bunch for the comment on the article and for reading my blog in means a lot :)

Hey Sowmya,

Thanks for the comment.

Hey Push,

:) You should see that copy of the book'll find it to be even more hilarious...thanks for the comment :)

Hey SpinalTap,

Firstly, thanks for stopping by and welcome to the blog...and yes, I had half the mind to do a bit on Pink Floyd and the joy their music is...maybe soon...thanks for the comment :)

Vibhushan said...

At 3 you read a book on astronomy is as amazing at these stars and planets and galaxies. I was reminded of the old serial that used to play on Doordarshan on astronomy. It had a cute title song that went -- Aakash bahut ooncha hai, durr bahut hai taare, firse nikale sau suraj, brahmand ke yeh banjare".

Liked the linking up of moon and its phases with lives of people. Darker side of moon, or for that matter of people are always a mystery, and like it is with them, some mysteries are better to be kept under wraps only.

I have always felt that each person has a darker side of his/her own. And it takes some courage to visit it, get familiarized with it, and accept it as our own. But once you do that, life becomes so much easier and lighter. You don't feel bad and guilty every time you do something wrong, every time that some hidden dark desire or urge surface up. We all are humans with emotions and desires, and a few of them will be on the darker side. Fun is to know them, and acknowledge them, put appropriate boundaries to them and be happy with them.

Pleasant said...

Very nicely written blog Anupama. People fascinated by astronomy are proud owners of unique personality and perspectives. I must say the sky is the most fascinating thing in the world. I can't imagine how much time I have spent watching things over the years. Keep writing.