Sunday, 29 March 2009

2009: The Universe - Yours [and Mine] to Discover

I couldn't have imagined before that the year 2009 would be so special for me.

It's been a roller-coaster ride for me already. I took my Board exams. My exams prevented me from doing what I liked, as I discussed in this post.

But it wasn't till my exams were over when I realised that there couldn't be a better year for the exams. I couldn't have got three long months for myself. Next couple of weeks, I believe, would enrich me with a number of remarkable experiences. I'd have been deprived of these extraordinary experiences if this were not 2009.

Why do I say so? Of course, you should know if you've looked at my profile!

2009 is the year of my love: Astronomy.

Yes, the UN declared 2009 to be the International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009), thus making it my year -- and the year of the millions who lose themselves in the sky. This is a year-long celebration which I wanted to join for long. And now, I officially take part in the jamboree that celebrates the triumph of science, the conquest of the unknown by human race and humanity itself. Yes, I use the word "humanity" as humanity and astronomy are so inter-related.

Some may question the significance of IYA2009. Yes, we, who worship science, (more specifically, astronomy) celebrate astronomy all our life. But this year is needed as we want to spread our madness among those who aren't crazy already.

We also need this this year to pay tribute to the man who revolutionized modern astronomy with exactly 400 years ago. We pay tribute to the man who faced the wrath of religion for simply stating what he saw. The man is Galileo Galilei (in picture, in case you didn't know already) who touched the sky with his new eye -- the eye which we call telescope.

No, not only Galileo, we also celebrate the intelligence of extraordinary minds (from all over the world) who made astronomy what it is now. They also made us what we are now.

This year is specifically mine in another way. This year, India is going to see a Total Solar Eclipse after a long time in July. This is the first TSE in India after I became seriously involved with astronomy.

So you've understood why this year is mine. This year can be yours too, if you join the craze.

I'll be discussing astronomy all along the year (of course, it doesn't stop on 31 December). I'll try to popularize astronomy more than I ever did. I will kick-start this event on the 2nd of April by hosting 100 Hours of Astronomy, a programme scheduled to take place during 2-5 April. It's also a part of IYA2009. The details of my plans should be up soon.

Also visit my astronomy-specific blogs:
1) Night Sky Fanatics (observation blog)
2) Go to Space (news blog)
[Some of the contents from these two blog will also be posted here.]

For now:

The Universe - Yours to Discover

Friday, 27 March 2009

I'm a Big Idiot

Yes, I am. Indeed. Forsooth.

The way I have messed up with my Internet browser proves that I'm nothing short of an idiot. I've been cursing myself since I did this.

Here's what I did:
Till Wednesday, I had Internet Explorer 7 running on my computer. Then I got to know that IE8 was released. I didn't care to look at any reviews or bloggers' reactions. I was informed that it was "fast," "compatible," and who-knows-what-else. Then I downloaded IE8. It was pretty fine until I (in my infinite wisdom) decided to uninstall IE7 before installing IE8. And boy, what a wonderful decision it was!

IE8 was slow in my computer and I decided to revert to IE7 at once. Then I uninstalled IE8. Meanwhile, I may have messed up with a thing or two. Now neither IE7 nor IE8 can be installed on my computer on account of "Cryptographic Service errors" and "Win32 generic host" stuff.

Now I've definitely reverted. To IE6. I don't know what I should do now. I'm so put off.

O' course, I'm an Idiot (with a capital I).

Now there's something coming up which can actually cheer me up. Watch out...

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Do You Want to See a Bloodless Kill Bill?

For those who want to, here's this for you.

I'm writing this as PIX shows both the volumes of the spectacular Kill Bill. I am not watching, though. I like both the movies a lot, but (you won't believe this) I can't watch the [extremely] violent scenes. I know they're completely comical and all, but I don't have the stomach to digest some particular scenes from Kill Bill as the IMDb describes. It's not that I have anything against this superbly stylised movie by Tarantino. By "violent scenes", I mean these hand-slicing, eye-squishing ones, of which I've only heard, but never seen. So whenever it's aired on TV, I skip most of "The Showdown at the House of Blue Leaves" (Vol. 1) and "Elle and I" (Vol. 2). I think I will be able to digest 'em, someday. I love "The Cruel Tutelage of Pai-Mei." Just look how hilarious Pai-Mei is in this video, which, I think, is one of the best creative works I've ever seen on YouTube.

For now, enjoy.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Ringing Out the Old

I realised only now that it's been two weeks since my last post. How could I not blog for two weeks?

Then again, I haven't really blogged since....,well, I don't remember. It may also be the exam hangover -- for the lack of a better word -- which prevents me from writing.

All these days, my life's been pretty irregular. Reading books, surfing the Net and spending "quality time" with the family kept me engaged and made me forget blogging.

[In an earlier draft of this post, I wrote a lot of stuff on The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Then, bless my unlimited wisdom, the title of the post made me aware of the fact that I was writing about something different. Then I deleted all that I had written and started afresh. What a brilliant(ly bad) blogger I am! No?]

On the 8th of this month, I woke up at 8:30 in the morning. The morning filled me with a new kind of joy (the joy of the marriage mentioned in the last post) and refreshed me. I could not but be gay (yep! The Daffodils is one of my favourite Wordsworth poems.) as this was the first morning after ages which didn't greet me with the tension for the Board exams.

Little did I know that ten minutes later I would be overcome with a sadness for the very reason which gave me joy. When I went near my study-table I found my parents gathering all my books of IX- X in a corner.

Father was removing all my text-books and stuff from my shelf (he wasn't throwing it away) and carrying it away to our library (which is located elsewhere in our house). He was "freeing" my shelf for other books to occupy them. I must tell you that I haven't yet got "other books" i.e. textbooks of XI. Why read them now when I have so many other "other books" i.e. stories to read? So my favourite fictions occupy the shelf now and will continue to do so, at least, till I am admitted to class XI, probably in June. But that's not the point. Lemme get there.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I'd actually feel sad to part with my text-books of IX-X. For two years, those books frightened me and almost enveloped me like an octopus.Before my exams all I wanted was to get rid of them as soon as possible.

Then why did it hurt me when I was getting rid of them? Why did I feel sad when I realised that I'd never make notes of the pages and underline important sentences? Did the books anyhow became a part of me without my knowledge or realisation? Was it that I started loving them while disliking them?

These are the questions which I asked myself for the past few days.

Another question bugs me: Can I actually avoid these feelings ever in my life? You don't have an answer, do you? Nor do I.

I know that we must "Ring in the new/ Ring out the old." But doesn't this ringing-out-the-old gives us the "grief that saps the mind," sometimes? Oh, we have to ring that out too.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Marriage Time... Again

Oh! Finally, the day has come.

Finally I'll be able to marry. Again.

Why again?

A prolonged -- almost perpetual -- wait separated me from the one I married...long ago. (Both of us met, but very infrequently. We spent very little time with each other.)

Yes, I am meeting The One again.

Today, at 3 pm, I reunited with the one.

Today I married my older self...again.