My Stargazing Nights

starry-sky

stargazing night

Stars of wonder, stars of night… stars with royal beauty bright…

Westward leading, still proceeding, Guide us to thy Perfect Light…

Millions of them, twinkling in the night sky, and each one with a message of its own – they touch my heart every time I look into the endless dark blue velvet sky.

In my growing up days, power cut nights were a frequent phenomenon. Although a dampener for many, in a way, it worked to my advantage. It turned me into an avid sky gazer. On a hot summer night, every time when the power went off, my parents and I headed straight to the terrace. Watching the night sky – lying down on the terrace – was amazing. And each time, it was a new revelation!

Viewing the world of constellations, the Milky Way, planets that are visible to the naked eye and several members of the star family – is a simply fascinating experience. And not to forget the mighty moon – shaping the fantasies of poets and painters alike. Moonlight dinners were a common thing on such occasions – something I still long for, but regret not having. Even today, I love to sneak out onto the balcony and gaze up at the breathtaking panorama played out in the night sky.

I have a special fondness for the November sky (when the sky is at its best). You get to see the gushing down of sparkles that last only for a few seconds. It’s amazing to watch those Shooting Stars. If you are lucky, it is said that they will not escape your eyes and several times my roving eyes caught them unaware.

As I sit to think of starry nights, every time, a small village in Bengal comes to mind. The night sky in Lolegaon – where we went for a family outing – was just out of the world! At a place so high up, there were no city lights to lighten the sky. And we could see so many stars that there was almost no space between them. The other fond memories of star studded nights were those of my college days when I went trekking and camping. At Panchgani in Maharastra, where I used to camp, we were given lessons to find the North Star, few constellations like Orion, Taurus, Great Bear, Arcturus, Virgo, to name a few – I cherish those days of yore.

Night stars stand as a testimony to my life on several occasions, for I attained bliss under a star studded sky. Those experiences turned into moments of great revelation in my life and there are many such occasions – The recent one being watching the night sky at the City Planetarium, while setting out on a journey to explore the cosmos with a special friend. As the lights fade away, our eyes got adjusted to the darkness, and the night sky emerged directly above. Suddenly I felt that I am miles away from the city life. All the distractions of the day are lost in the far reaches of space. We were beneath a beautiful night sky, caught up in the wonderment of the universe. We started gazing at thousands of stars, constellations; comets and the shimmering Milky Way – a sense of euphoria, Just for that half an hour – it took away all my worries and gave me a new meaning of life. A virtual world, but a world worth living!

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