i wouldn’t want to miss it for the world!
and so i was up very early, only to find there were many others before me. the entire town was celebrating…i walked fast, half-ran. i was so excited i could barely contain myself.
when i reached the (town)centre i waited for my turn patiently, tapping my feet, pushing behind my ears strands of hair that threatened to fly away, looking around at all the curious shops that seemed to have come up overnight, vendors selling solar filters and books about the transit of venus, the event that occurred once in a hundred and twenty-two years. now, here was another thing i would tell my grandchildren about (or leave behind to read it themselves on this journal ;-)
maybe when venus, earth and the sun would queue up again, it would be time for them to tell their grandchildren: “ahh, this was what my achchamma was talking about years ago!”…
as i stood daydreaming, i heard someone call out my name for “the viewing” and i stepped forward, my heart racing, climbing what was like a small hillock of green.
what i saw next almost made me remind myself i had forgotten to breathe! there it was! the sun, radiant and magnanimous, bright reddish-yellow and so silent and angry… near its left cheek was a tiny teel-like spot, making its way slowly to the other side. i had made it!! i jumped excitedly, clapping my hands like a child. i had made it to the once-in-a-lifetime event!
when i finally closed my mouth shut, and narrowed my wide-open eyes, i noticed tiny little shadows running alongside the yellow planet. like a relay race, they had in their hands some sort of baton that they exchanged before the next person began running again. this went on for a while…at least six people running and pushing the speck a little ahead, and a little more, until they covered the full length of the sun. for a moment i wondered what they were up to, but then i remembered it was a six-hour carnival after all.
far beyond, tall sleek buildings glistened in a twilight-like hazy glow, steely white birds stooped very low and almost wanting to be comforted…they had never seen a beauty spot on the sun before. nor had they seen so many saturns so close. pale blue, their frosty rings spinning icy winds across miles together. carefully erect though slightly wobbly-at-times were the digital words splashed all over them: “£5 ONLY! JUST FOR TODAY!” and “WATCH THE TRANSIT OF VENUS AND WIN…”
i slapped my hand to my head. “how fast these ad-people work!!? brilliant idea though, hai na praveen?”
i looked to my right and praveen had disappeared. arre! i thought. he was just here. i sighed and decided to take one last look at venus-on-the-sun again, before i set out to look for him in the mela below… the six little men were still huffing and panting, and that’s when i realised. i had been looking at the sun with my naked eyes.
i blinked, surprised that i wasn’t blind, yet. i *must* find praveen and tell him, i thought, turning around to run…
the birds were still chirping and chattering away noisily, sunlight all over the place. a pedestal fan whirred softly nearby, the sheets were still warm and praveen, still fast asleep next to me. i blinked again, chuckling to myself this time. “wake up praveen, wake up,” i shook him gently. “it’s almost 6:15 and we have just four minutes before the transit-of-venus begins…”
it must be this book i was reading before going to bed. something tells me i’m going to do it again tonight!
ps: after a lot of trials, errors, and torn empty boxes all over the lawn, praveen and i did succeed in spotting venus on the sun! we used a mirror — placed under a piece of cardboard with a hole to catch the sun in and reflect on the opposite wall. one of us then just had to focus on the reflection (on the wall), using my father’s 70x210mm zoom lens, until we got a clear picture…much more satisfying than the star in my dream ;-)