Tilak Rishi's weblog

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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Moonstruck to Moon Struck!

Ever since the earliest memories of our childhood, we have always been moonstruck. Nobody knows when moon became our 'Chanda Mama', but this is one loving uncle we all have in common. It all started with Moms singing this song to cox their kids to eat. :

chandaa maama door ke, puye pakaayen boor ke
aap khaayen thaali mein, munne ko den pyaali mein
pyaali gayi toot munnaa gayaa rooth
laayenge nayi pyaaliyaan bajaa bajaa ke taaliyaan
munne ko manaayenge ham doodh malaayi khaayenge....

Or when mothers sang one or the other Chanda Mama lullaby to put their children to sleep:

Nanhi kali sone chali hawa dhire aanaa
Neend bhare pankh liye jhula jhulana
Chand kiran si gudia naazon ki hai pali
Aaj agar chandania ana meri gali
Gun gun gun geet koi haule haule ganaa

As we grew up, cutting through the ages, innumerable number of those 'Moon' melodies from Bollywood movies gained immortality in our hearts, including some of these most favorites:

Chaudhvi ka chaand ho, ya aaftab ho
jo bhi ho khuda ki kasam, lajavaab ho

Dum bhar jo udhar muh phere, O Chanda
Mein unse pyar kar lungi, batein hazaar kar lungi

Ruk ja raat theher ja re chanda, beete na Milan ki bela
aaj chandni ki nagri mein, armaano ka mela

Khoya khoya chaand, khula aasmaan
aankhon mein sari raat jayegi, tumko bhi kaise neend aayegi

Chaand jaise mukhde pe bindiya sitara,
nahin bhulega meri jaan, ye najara , vo banjara

Ye raat ye chaandni fir kahan,
sun ja dil ki dastaan

Yeh Chaand Sa Raushan Chehra
Taareef Karoon Kya Us Ki

Mysterious, mystical, magical, the moon has been a symbol of faith, love and remembrance over centuries. The Moon is one of the heavenly bodies that has always cast its magic spell on our lives, making us the most Moonstruck nation. The Moon gives knowledge of time with its waxing and waning, closely connected with spiritual knowledge. Most Indian festivals are based on the lunar almanac, a sacred device to encourage people to become attuned to the natural tides in the universe at their great highs, and to share the joy and spiritual blessings with others in the community. India is a land of festivals, and no month passes by without a festival being celebrated. All these national festivals and many more celebrated locally in different parts of the country are based on sighting of the Moon in its particular waxing or waning position: Makar Sakranthi, Pongal, Vasant Panchami, Maha Shivratri, Holi, Ram Naumi, Baisakhi, Budh Poornima, Mahavir Jayanti, Raksha Bandhan, Janma Ashthmi, Ganesh Chaturthi, Onam, Durga Puja, Vijaya Dashmi, Karwa Chauth, Deepavali, Gurpoorav and the biggest Muslim festival of Eid-ul-Fitr.

Then came the time when the two super powers became moonstruck. The Cold War-inspired space race between the Soviet Union and the U.S. led to an acceleration of interest in the Moon. Unmanned probes, both flyby and impact/lander missions, were sent almost as soon as launcher capabilities would allow. The Soviet Union's Luna program was the first to reach the Moon with unmanned spacecraft. The first man-made object to escape Earth's gravity and pass near the Moon was Luna 1, the first man-made object to impact the lunar surface was Luna 2, and the first photographs of the normally occluded far side of the Moon were made by Luna 3, all in 1959. The first spacecraft to perform a successful lunar soft landing was Luna 9 and the first unmanned vehicle to orbit the Moon was Luna 10, both in 1966. Moon samples have been brought back to Earth by three Luna missions (Luna 16, 20, and 24) and the Apollo missions 11 to 17 (except Apollo 13, which aborted its planned lunar landing). The landing of the first humans on the Moon in 1969 is seen by many as the culmination of the space race.
Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the Moon as the commander of the American mission Apollo 11 by first setting foot on the Moon at 02:56 UTC on July 21, 1969.

After some years of Neil Armstrong's unbelievable walk on the Moon followed the most amazing Moonwalk by Michael Jackson. On March 25, 1983, Michael Jackson took one small, backward step onto a television stage — and one giant leap into dance-floor history. The thin, angular pop star was only 24 years old when he took an obscure break-dancing move and transformed it into one of the most recognizable routines of all time. Jackson debuted the Moonwalk during his performance of "Billie Jean" on the ABC television special Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever. It not only became his signature move but also one of the best-known dance techniques in the world, injected into world's pop-cultural consciousness. The youth throughout the world became Moonstruck as never before.

And now the bombshell that ended much of the sentiments and sensitivity around the Moon in one stroke. Astronomers and space enthusiasts around the world watched as Nasa sent a rocket into the lunar surface. The rocket hit the Moon at the speed of about 5,600mph. The probe searched for ice and water on the Moon. The event came just weeks after exciting research revealed widespread water on the surface of the Moon. The Moon Mineralogy Mapper on board India's Chandryaan-1 picked up the electromagnetic radiation signature of water on and a few inches below the surface. No one ever imagined that the Moonstruck world would one day wake up with this shocking worldwide news headline, “Moon Struck!” What a tragic end of the journey of the Moonstruck to Moon Struck!