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Wednesday, October 20 2021

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Celeste: Sorry, I am spaced out!

Ever wondered why the stars twinkle? It is the same reason our eyes twinkle – they cannot contain their happiness. This was evident from swashbuckling entrepreneur Richard Branson’s countenance as he looked down on his original space here on earth. From up there, he realized quickly that distance does make the heart grow fonder because it swells in comparison!  And so, he returned in 15 minutes.  His large heart is required here on earth!

He hustled into space aboard his own winged rocket ship Sunday in his boldest adventure yet, beating out fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos.  It was a truly Amazonian or shall we say Virgin moment?

The nearly 71-year-old Branson, the second oldest to do so, proving that age is just a number in space, and his five crewmates including an Indian American from his Virgin Galactic space-tourism company reached an altitude of about 53 miles (88 kilometers) over the New Mexico desert enough to experience three to four minutes of weightlessness and insignificance, see the curvature of the Earth (is that all they wanted to see? The curves?)  and then safely glided to a runway landing. “The whole thing, it was just magical,” a jubilant Branson said after the trip home aboard the sleek, white space plane, named of all things Unity – that might be because from up there, all of us here on earth seem united. What a nice way to see the earth!

But that was not the only celestial event of the week. The Gods were busy throughout. They always are – managing seven billion people of all hues and thought processes is a herculean task. But social media keeps them well informed, and they have their own Algorithms to decide what to do with whom and when. Dissent is not permitted!

As Branson landed back on earth, at least 60 people entered the space Branson vacated, in Pradesh and Rajasthan as parts of these states witnessed scattered rainfall and lightening on Sunday. This is in addition to those who go there every day (other than astronauts), never to come back, or maybe they do as someone else. Recycling is a big thing these days – we must build a sustainable world according to all the people who emit carbon every time they open their mouths in their air-conditioned environments! No wonder they get all the carbon credits! 

The curious thing is that eleven of them died while taking selfies in front of a 12th-century fort in the Rajasthan capital. It was dark and cloudy, and the use of a flash was necessary if it was to be picture perfect. And in the end, perhaps it was in a tragic sort of way. It is what our management professors tell us all the time – always look at the big picture before you step into the frame!

There is nothing funny about death. It is all about relief.  Even when you write about it, you are relieved – you hope you will get there soon enough. Writing about life is harder, you might get trolled! Or extolled! It all depends on who and what you write about…

Be that as it may, there were two other celestial events that marked the beginning of space tourism, reminding us perhaps, that space is for exploration, not exploitation. It is called space, because it has been relatively empty until now, and once the tickets are available on Amazon, we may well drop the letter ‘s’,, for then it will be all about pace.  We know space is no longer virgin territory now that Virgin Galactic has had access to it!

In Dharamshala there was a cloudburst and consequential flash floods.  It proves Newton’s theory that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and we must prepare ourselves for that reaction with every action we take. It’s inevitable.

And in Uttarakhand, the other side of celestial paradigm, one that we cannot see even in space, might have decisive say in what happens next regarding the Kanwar Yatra.

According to a report in the India Today, the annual Kanwar Yatra which was earlier cancelled by the Tirath Singh Rawat-led government in Uttarakhand in light of the pandemic might be reviewed After Dhami took over as the chief minister, his government decided to reconsider their decision on the annual religious pilgrimage associated with the state of Uttarakhand. When asked if any clear decision on the matter has emerged yet, Dhami said, “Uttarakhand is only the host. Crores of people from Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and others come for the yatra. A decision will be taken after speaking to these states.” He continued, “It is a matter of the faith of millions. However, people’s lives should not be threatened. Saving lives is our priority. God would not like it if people lost their lives to Covid due to the yatra.”

We all look forward to our faith to conquer Covid, not the other way around. But with each new Covid wave, comes a new test for our faith in the Celestial. The waves which are supposed to push us ashore, are dragging us back into the seas of doubt. And what we do? We gather to arrest our doubts!

Beyond these events here on earth, a high-speed solar storm that is approaching us at a speed of 1.6 million kilometers per hour (much more than a Virgin’s speed), according to National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa), is expected to hit our planet’s magnetic field sometime today, affecting electricity supply and communication infrastructure around the world.  

It is good that Branson is back with his crew, as the satellites in the Earth’s upper atmosphere are also expected to get impacted by the incoming flares. This will directly impact GPS navigation, mobile phone signal and satellite TV. Power grids can also be hit by the solar flares. Can you imagine we will be without the internet and won’t be able to Google “Solar Storm?”?

That is why I have provided an explanation below! A celestial boon!

“The solar flare, flowing from an equatorial hole in the sun’s atmosphere that was first detected on July 3, can travel at a maximum speed of 500 km/second, according to spaceweather.com. Although full-fledged geomagnetic (magnetic field associated with Earth) storms are unlikely, lesser geomagnetic unrest could spark high-latitude auroras”.  In simple words, just hold up your candle and Celeste will light it for you wherever you are – in space or here grounded in disbelief!

As Celeste’s eyes twinkle in mischief, I can hear her say, see you again next week!

Disclaimer

This Article is written in a lighter vein. It hopes to bring a smile to your face, and you must not ascribe motives to its contents. There is no connection to events and characters in real life and if perchance you find a connect with any such real-life event or character, rest assured its purely coincidental.

Image by safran7

MANY DROPS MAKE AN OCEAN
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