Archive for December, 2012

When Death Smiled


 “It was a time when only the dead smiled, happy in their peace..”


It was a cold winter morning.  My fingers were numb from the morning walk.  I lighted the stove for the warmth, then prepared hot tea to refresh and gear up for the daily chore. As I sipped I glanced at the wall clock. The time too seemed to slow down.  In summers the time seems to race.

I peeped into her room, she lay asleep. With no tea or breakfast she lay as though in hibernation.

Now it was noon, I felt uneasy I reached her bed to wake her up but to no avail. I gently caressed her hair, “mother wake up!”  My repeated call sent some signal.  She responded she opened her eyes with difficulty. The light in her eyes was receding.  I managed to straighten her to sitting position, offered tea. The frail body could feel some strength. With the help of maid we managed to give her a bath, cleansing was a must.  Her silver fluffy hairs were neatly combed.  They whispered the story of her hard life she had to endure.  All alone, after her husband’s who was an Inspector in the Police Force was shot dead by dacoits, she brought up her five kids. It was a herculean task to make the both ends meet.

With mere primary education she could not get any kind of job. The eldest son who was in teens ,managed to work hard  for a living for the family, also resumed his studied in the night College. Many a time they had to skip meals .During illness a family friend who was a doctor used to come as an angel to cure them.   Mother narrated her story on some occasions, I  could not hold my tears….she paused and then said ,”you  wanted to know therefore, I have opened my heart to you.  I  pray almighty not to give this severe punishment to anyone.  It’s painful very painful life, to lead the family without any Sources.” No compensation or any monetary help was granted to the widows in some cases.

We both had come closer since then.  The harsh truth of her life disclosed spelt one thing sure, come what may I must hereafter take her utmost care.  But the story does not seem to end here.  One does not know how the end comes.  How much you have to wait for the heavens call…

How strange is the destiny at the end?  You desperately want to leave this world but…

I was awakened by her groans.  I managed to feed her a morsel.  “Death does not come” she cried.  I wiped her tears and laid her to bed. Sleep Mother it’s nearly midnight… Ok I must go… her words incoherent.  That night was terribly cool.  I put the room heater. She felt better. I tried to sleep.  But sleep had vanished the doors of my heart had opened sounded the heartthrob. Wisdom dawns unto you. I prayed God for her.

At dawn I checked in to see her.  Her face glowed with a faint smile.

She has slept peacefully I thought. I drew closer to her cause that smile had terrified me! I summoned our doctor, who pronounced her dead.

Tears rolled down my cheeks, my  voice chocked   I cried, “Mother ! Oh Mother.”

Words echoed: “When her long life has reached her final day: Men and we must grieve when even the shade Of that which once was great has passed away.”…William Wordsworth

By Prajakta Dighe


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“We cannot be the only instance of a race we just can’t be.” Sir Patrick Moore.

Sir Patrick Moore almost 90 one of the leading  American Astronomers  has spent decades observing the Solar System.  Lately he had spoken about the the life in the Universe. ” I do think life is out there.”  He said that there are 100,000millions stars in our galaxy (  Milky Way) and many other galaxies too have incredible amount of stars.  We cannot be the only instance of race we just can’t be and there are far more intelligent than we are.  We can’t get to them but they might get to us” he added.   In an interview he spoke to Jonathan O’ Callaghan about Saturn’s moon Titan & Lapetus Jupiter’s moon Europa and Callisto.

NASA Explores the Red Planet…..Just a year ago NASA Mars Rover Curiosity began its flight to Mars.  It landed on 6th August 2012 on Mars. The researchers are busy studying the planet using the different science instruments. Collecting soil rocks studyingdust storms climate environment etc. One questions could Mars have once harbored Life?

Since last fifty /sixty years we have been serching for Life in the Universe.  NASA’s Search for Extra Terristrial Intelligence

(SETI)  A moderate but wide ranging exploratory program is described which would use existing radio telescopes and advanced electronic  systems with the objective of trying to detect the presence of just one signal generated by another intelligent species.

SETI’s programmme is a 10 year plan which will search for microwave signals from Extra Terrestrial Intelligence spanning the multidimentional search space programme. The entire sky will be searchd in two polarisation between 1.2 and 10 GHz. more than700 solar type stars etc will be searched….

The  SETI@home is a software downloaded from the internet on PC’s .on the screen saver, analyses the data from nearly 3 millions of PC users around the world.  It is one the largest project in the historyof the world.

“We humans are intellectually curious nomads ”..Neil deGrasse Tyson .We search for life of any form elswhere..Our future generation will also keep on searching.

Retrospection : In the good old days:  Aristotle, Ptolemy and the Roman Catholic Church,  the people all believed for centuries that the Earth was the centre of Universe. During the 3rd century BC a Greek philosopher named Aristarchus proposed the Sun Centered Universe.  An Italian Monk Giordanu Bruno proposed in Public that there are many planets in the Universe that harbor life.  He was burned at stake.  Times have changed a lot since then .  People had started to learn and discover.  A Polish Astronomer Nicholas Copernicus in mid 1500 put forward the Sun Centered Universe!  Soon it was realised that the Earth is not in the center of the Solar System .The Solar System is not in the center of Milky Way Galaxy, and Milky Way Galaxy is not in the center of the Universe.

The Chemistry of Life :  Are We chemically  special ? The basic elements present  in our planet are Carbon Hydrogen Helium Nitrogen and Oxygen.  Helium is inert.  The other four elements  most abundant and chemically active are common elements in the Universe.They are essential for  Life on Earth too..That is why we have reason to believe life out there, we are not alone.

The Wow Signal: The Search for Extra Terristrial Intelligence.- Jerry R Ehman while working on SETI project in the year 1977 dated 15th August detected a radio signal .The signal bore expected hallmarks of potential non-terrestrial and non-Solar System origin. It lasted for the full 72-second duration that Big Ear Radio Telescope of Ohio State University observed, but it has not been detected again. It is called the Wow signal.

The Aliens might contact us again this time we are prepared technologically to receive their signals.  It is observed that it is far too costly to send signals to the interstellar regions than to receive them.

Compiled by :   Prajakta Dighe


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