Tales Under the Stars



No matter how frequently or seldom one travels, it never ceases to amaze me how exciting and memorable that could get. It creates an opportunity to learn and observe with eyes wide open. The consequential travel anecdotes concocted thereafter, are always memorable. One such memorable experience of mine was at Grand Teton National Park and another one at Mac Donald Observatory. Back from exploring the beauty of Grand Teton’s mountains and lakes, I was sitting right outside my rustic log cabin shortly after dinner, gazing at the ethereally beautiful night sky, full of stars. That moment was magical.

Years later, a visit to the Mac Donald Observatory brought back the opportunity to look at stars using telescopes. I remember gazing three of them at once. Amongst them, the guide informed, the ones close to each other were Mizar A and Mizar B and the distant third one was Alcor. The brightest star viewed with naked eye, pointed another guide, was Blue Star. Magic moment relived.

I often catch myself smiling at the slightest flash of these beautiful moments. They bring joy, excitement, the quest to know more, and most importantly, memories. Beautiful memories of bedtime stories, stories at the dinner table, stories narrated at  terrace under the stars. Gradually, those stories from my remembrance became the nook of respite. The narrators who were grandparents, parents and aunts always had all the time in the world to spin a yarn of anecdotes for all the children. Not just stories, but some could actually talk about the pattern of stars and the ways to observe them. Sometimes, when siblings got together counting stars, the older ones always took pride when they outnumbered the others.

Grandparents often told us about their parents being stars in the sky and that they were always looking out for us. Light years seemed not-so-distant when great grandparents were stars.

The very thought of those insouciant days creates a corner of respite in my mind. Days before television broadcasted reality shows, dramas and sitcoms incessantly, before gadgets took everyone over in it’s clutches, those were the days when yarns of tales seamlessly started spinning under the stars.

Don’t we all cherish those tales till date?


Little Wonders

So I decided to take a break from my pending household chores, checking e-mails, phone calls, and have an entire day to myself, which means, completely engulfed in myself. I did not even want hunger apologizing, “Sorry to interrupt but I am on.” And I treated myself heartily to rule out any such odds. And then it was my time. Talking about time, I decided to look back. I was all gung ho about my childhood, to which, I am sure, most of us would say, “I second that.” Childhood is all about losing a contest and still getting awarded with, “Nice try and I am proud of you.”  It is about not getting judged on questions tagged silly and getting patient answers from elders. This reminded me of my grandmother, who was patient enough not just answering my questions but also narrating interesting stories everyday. As a five year old, my excitement knew no bounds when I was back home from school and ran to her. She readied herself for an interesting talk session every afternoon and I wondered what did she have in store. One such afternoon, I found her flipping through a carefully preserved album. The images immediately caught my attention because-
-they were black and white,
-the children in those photos were unfamiliar to me.
But even before I could throw my question about who I was looking at, it was grandma pointing towards herself in the photo asking, “how did you like me in that cute little ballet dress? “ and “ this was when I was your age and was photographed with my cousins during a birthday party,” she furthered. I took a close look, and looked closer and closer, stuck by awe. After moments of close investigation into the photograph, I questioned, “You are my grandmother and you couldn’t  be small as I am, right? Aren’t all grandmas supposed be all grown up with silver hair and glasses ?” 
She bursted into laughter, gave me a tight hug and said, “ Back then, I had a grown up grandma too.” 
And like always, I was convinced by what she said, even if that kept me wondering “how” for a jiffy.
Back then, those thoughts were plain and simple, not silly. They are timeless memories capable of making me smile every time I remember them.
As evening neared, I was unwillingly into winding up the date with self to fix dinner and zeroed on trying a new recipe. I started to prepare and wondered, what if I end up cooking a not-so-tasty new meal tonight, would I judge my own cooking skills or simply say ,”nice try ” to myself.