Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fasting, fasting, fasting….and feasting??

Photographed by me from inside a telescope
Almost 10 whole days of Baba Ramdev and Anna Hazare doing nothing but fasting, fasting and fasting, I was seriously thinking- is there no other better news that the news channels can look for or afford to telecast? I was completely fed up. You go anywhere, switch over to any channel, talk to the auto-wallahs, everyone is just talking about one thing-Ramdev!! Huh!! I was completely irritated.

On Tuesday evening, I got to know about a much more interesting and happening event- The total lunar eclipse of the 15-16 June night. It was being talked about in my office and I volunteered to go for it. My request was accepted and that meant, I was going to be out of home, in Delhi, with no one I know, till at least 3 AM in the morning and that too at a place completely unknown to me!

‘Isme tum asli journalist wala kaam karoge’, my boss remarked!

I was excited. This would be fun. This would be another adventure. How I am going to come back- will think of it when the time comes! (Well, I did call up Just Dial and contacted some cab services for the night, just in case I need one in an emergency!)

I had left office around 7.30 PM to reach the venue around 9.15, after a gruelling search for the address! An initial scene story of the to-be event was reported by me to the office. Very few people, mainly young kids and college students with the SPACE employees were present. After a few minutes I actually started wondering, “Is this going to be so boring?”

By the time the main event began, which was 5 minutes before 11, more people had gathered and the atmosphere now seemed quite lively.

And then, the hide and seek game began.

Large telescopes pointing at the moon, kids jumping around excitedly to take a look at the craters, young college students explaining to them how a lunar eclipse occurs, and scientists making observations of the various phases of the eclipse with Bollywood scores in the background to keep the mood of the gathering at a high- that’s the kind of look that the terrace of the SPACE Foundation, Janakpuri, held late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning when the world witnessed the darkest and the longest lunar eclipse of the century.

The short skit was fun. The saas-bahu saga continues to tickle the people of all ages in its satirical humour. A few news channels had arrived. Yes, they were literally ‘few’- Just three, to be precise! And I was in no mood to go in front of the camera!

A projector connected to a laptop which was in turn synchronised with a digital high-power telescope, projected the changing looks of the moon on a big screen on the terrace of SPACE. Activities had been organized for small kids. And then, at 11.10 PM, the left side of the moon started vanishing!

I was now starting to enjoy myself. My tweeting was on and I was looking forward to make friends with a few people here, or else, I would get bored till death! And I did get to know some people, a few students of IIIT-Delhi who were here as part of a summer course.

The break the myth langar began at midnight when the moon entered the partial eclipse phase. After 6 hours of having nothing, the aloo-puri and the cold-drink tasted awesome! What a feast! Haha…

Kids danced to the tunes of Chanda chamke cham cham and other chand-songs and seemed to be enjoying themselves a lot with no worries in the world and enjoying the different ‘looks’ of the moon.

1.15 AM- The moon vanished completely. Even the advanced telescopes were not able to spot it anywhere. The atmosphere seemed to be getting dull. I opened my laptop and started typing this blog entry, but didn’t feel that it as the right time to do that! Fun-conversations with my new friends, helped me while away the minutes.

2.15 AM- Dekho chand aaya, chand nazar aaya started playing as soon as the moon reappeared. Coke doubled up as champagne to celebrate the event. And everyone was again glued to the telescopes and clicking pictures. The moon never looked so awesome before!

With a ten-minute countdown, the whole event came to an end around 3.32 AM and I left for home in a taxi that I had booked.

I have a two-hour difficult sleep after that and then I am on my way to office again to file my story and there I get a big SURPRISE- 16th of June, 2011, 1.35 PM, my first ever byline gets published on the internet for the whole world to view! :-)


Or type: ‘From terrace, nightlong chase for century's darkest eclipse’ on Google and click search and then open any of the many page results that you get!

P.S: For my non-media related readers, I would like to explain what a byline is. A ‘byline’ on a newspaper or magazine article gives the name, and often the position, of the writer of the article.

I hope even you witnessed the spectacular event of last night and enjoyed it as much as I did. Do let me know how much you liked this blog entry and the news story on the above mentioned link. Could they have been much better? Awaiting your views! :)

10 comments :

  1. amazing and congrats Antarik.... beautiful.. i know how you fell... :) hope u loads of luck!! and the entire event is so dramatic and fun to read.... very interesting.. i wish i was dr for the experience!!!!

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  2. congrats....!!!!!...n all the best for future too...!

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  3. congrats antarik!!amazing writing skills as always.
    prof xams at clg left me no time to see it either live or on tv,but your blog n the news story made me experience all of it.:)
    thanx for the awaited blog entry.
    all the best.bright future awaits u.:)

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  4. I am really excited and probably for the first time since you started writing blogs. You are on right track towards excellence in your field. I am sure success will follow you. Hard work pays. The Gita can never be wrong. Keep up the good work. God bless you.

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  5. super cool bro!!!! tremendous job!!! yooo!!!

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  6. Dis z probably d bst entry in ur Blog n wel shws ur xcitement at d rare event...

    Appeared more lyk a first-hand xperience dan a narration...

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  7. Thank you so much for the appreciation and wishes everyone! :)

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  8. wow loved it man!!!!!!!!!
    amazing , i really felt the excitement!!!!!!
    keep up the good work!!!!
    i know u'll bcome famous very soon!!!!!

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