I recently recalled an evening of my life while talking to a friend. I should say it was one of my first encounters with the nature.
It was a summer evening of 1999. I was preparing for 12th board exams. Next exam was about Hindi language Prose. I hated all those beautiful and waste of time texts. I was reading this chapter “Description of morning by the great poet Maagh” (may be this was not the exact chapter name). This piece of text is about a poem written by Maagh in Sanskrit thousands of years back. Text was translation from the poem as a poetic prose. Exam point of view this kind of texts were hard. My all in all goal in language courses exams was to somehow pass them.
The original poem was about a beautiful winter morning somewhere in India. The poem was translated to this text about 100 years back. Somewhere in the text, one paragraph was talking about some child and a bullock-cart which was going to fall on the child. I was suddenly puzzled. What the hell? A falling bullock-cart was part of a beautiful morning. I went over and over that passage and then i realized that it was symbolizing stars. The scene it was talking about, Sun was about to rise from the east. Sky was still dark with little haze. Only the bright star were clearly visible in the sky. In north, this bullock-cart(without bull) is going to fall on the child??
After reading few times it cracked across my mind. I ran to the upstairs. It was one hour after sunset. I looked at Northern sky. Pole star was right there as child and the “Great Bear” (Sapt-rishi) hanging over it as falling bullock-cart. I felt the imagination of the poet. If you know hindu mythology then the child was Krisha and the scene was about when a demon was trying to kill him using bullock-cart.
It was the time when i was starting to learn observing sky. I had learned few days earlier that sky after sunset in summer looks same as the sky in winter just before sunrise.
And, There was a poem written thousands year back which was translated 100 years back. It describes winter morning sky in some cryptic way. Then, I was reading it and observed the description of sky in summer night sky which was consistent with the fact which i learned few days back. It felt like a cosmic dance. I was amazed with the consistency of the universe for a while. I immediately fell in love with the Nature and decided to be a Physicist. As no first love ends up in marriage. So, i am trying to do PhD in Computer Science. 😦
I guess it takes a while for a child to observe the links between the facts of nature and feel the consistency of it. At least, first few times it amazed me and it still happens with me now.
-Ashutosh K Gupta