Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Advice That Mattered

I have always been fascinated by starry nights. The smile of the stars, the loneliness of night, the embrace of breeze had always pushed me closer to the almighty Universe. I always paid special attention to any study or reading or viewing material pertaining to stars or our Universe. I remember reading for hours the Astronomy encyclopedia and watching the tv serial Brahmaand, featuring renowned astrophysicist Dr. Jayant Narlikar and also starring two Universe fascinated adolescents - Ravi and Bhaskar, both cleverly named as Hindi synonyms of our own star, the Sun. The serial used to be telecasted under Chhutti-Chhutti program every summer vacations on Doordarshan in the effervescent 90s.

I was so mesmerized with this series that I never used to miss even a single minute of the episodes and used to watch the same series over and over every year. And sometime in those moments, overwhelming my natural curiosity to understand more and more about stars and the Universe, one idea got vehemently stuck in my psyche that I want to become an Astronaut.

Astronomy became my obsession and Aeronautical Engineering my ambition. But due to different circumstances, I could not enrol for Aeronautical Engg. from PEC, Chandigarh, the same institute from where the eminent Kalpana Chawla did her graduation. After my ECE engineering, I got busy with a lucrative career in order to make a living.

But I never left Astronomy. In fact, I made it my no. 1 hobby and kept pursuing it full devotion and passion. I read books, met with like-minded people and through some lucky turn of events, met with my Astronomy guru, Dr. Jayant Narlikar himself. Below is the pic of two of us together at IUCAA.

Life always has different plans for us. When I thought that I was drifting away from Astronomy to steer my newfound passion in Poetry and confronted Dr. Narlikar with my self-doubt, he gave me an #AdviceThatMattered. He advised me why not write poetry pertaining to Astronomy, so that I do not lose one in pursuit of the other. And the following poem of mine then materialized, which has been appreciated by many.

रात और तारे 

ये तारे जब
जगमगाते हैं नभ में, 
तब ज़िन्दगी से तंग आकर
आ जाता हूँ मैं आगन में, 

ऐसा प्रतीत होता है -
अकेला नहीं हूँ मैं,
इन सूनी, तन्हा रातों में;
नवजीवन फिर से पाने को 
एक दीप है इन सितारों में | 

उस तन्हाई में भी
अपनेपन का एहसास होता है
चलो, साथ मेरे भी है कोई,
ऐसा आभास होता है | 

आंखें बंद कर उन तारों के बीच
बाकी सब कुछ भूल जाता हूँ,
उस सुप्त काले दर्पण में फिर 
कोई गीत में गुनगुनाता हूँ | 

खुलती हैं आंखें जब मेरी
तो दिखता है चाँद गगन में,
साथ ही, उभर आता है एक
चाँद-सा चेहरा मेरे मन में | 

तब निकल पड़ता हूँ बाहर
खुद से कुछ बातें करने, 
सोचते हुए, कहीं तो होगा वो चेहरा 
अनजानी किसी डगर में | 

ख्वाबों से छूटकर दुनिया में
जब वापस कदम बढ़ता हूँ, 
तो पता नहीं क्यूँ महसूस होता है -
जैसे मिल गया इस रात को 
इन चाँद और तारों का साथ, 
वैसे ही, कोई तो होगा मेरा अपना, 
जो थामेगा हर पल मेरा हाथ | 

कोई न भी मिला इस दिल को,
तो ग़म न होगा मेरे यार,
क्योंकि तन्हा रात बिताने को 
इन तारों की बारात 
हमेशा होगी मेरे साथ | 

बस! इसी तरह 
आँगन में बैठे-बैठे ही 
सपनों में खो जाता हूँ;
उस चाँद का चेहरा दिल में लिए, 
फिर रात को सो जाता हूँ || 


The ambition of Astronomy used to be so deep-rooted in my adolescent years that after watching Dr. Narlikar and his tv series Brahmand and reading Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea, I had got an idea to write my own Science Fiction novel, or Scientifiction, as Dr. Narlikar calls it. Currently I am in the process of reading one of his many such novels to get proper inspiration related to Indianisation of science fiction as is the theme in his novels and would be in mine. Best of luck for me and Thank you to my Astronomy inspiration, Dr. Jayant Narlikar sir. Salute!

P.S. -- I am blogging about my dreams and the people who helped make them true for the #AdviceThatMattered activity at BlogAdda in association with Stoodnt.

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