Message

Message from Mandarin D

The Mandarin Duck.
[Image by Johnnie Shannon from Pixabay]

More than a century later Mandarin D again visited the Tinsukia district of Assam with a colourful cryptic message for all.

The transformed world looked the same everywhere and yet Mandarin D observed it buoyantly. Ripples borrowed orange, purple, green and the floating plants, transfixed, only swayed when Mandarin D swam elegantly.

That change is constant, O believer, do not lose hope, that every action counts, O dreamer, do not stop walking, that life is living in the present, O dear, have faith in yourself… Mandarin D read some lines from the message.

But I know, it is up to us to decipher the tone of the message; I picked the fantastical, the awe-inspiring, and folk-tale-like tone for my message – one that promises to surprise, play mystical rhymes and make the impossible possible – and felt elated.

‘That is beautiful, that is indeed the message for you’, said Mandarin D and left suddenly without bidding adieu.


I wonder which tone you will pick for your message.


How well crafted this story of ours is, we get to share motivations that encourage, no matter, even if it arrives a century later.

*

Mandarin mystical D.
[Image by Cornelia Gatz from Pixabay.]

Check out the news article that inspired me to write this post here.


Weekly Newsletter

A weekly dose of stories! Get the posts from the Chiming Stories in your inbox and read it when you can. Subscribe now, it is free!


Recent Posts


To The Moon And Back

Reaching for the moon, love,
In Gemini G4C suit, love,
Will bring some for you, love,
Papery pieces of the surface,
If not a piece of moon, love.

Our love affair with the moon is an open secret; waning, waxing, crescent, full, each phase has been glorified and studied by the curious minds. The silvery moonlight never fails to express.

In poems like The Man in the Moon Came Down Too Soon by J. R. R. Tolkien, Half Moon in a High Wind by Carl Sandburg, The Freedom of the Moon by Robert Frost, The Moon Was But a Chin Of Gold by Emily Dickenson, The Mother Moon by Louisa May Alcott, Mrs Moon by Roger McGough, in paintings like Caspar David Friedrich’s Two Men Contemplating the Moon (1819), James McNeill Whistler’s Nocturne, Blue and Gold—Southampton Water (1872), Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night (1889), the artists reveal and revel in the moony secret.

Caspar David Friedrich’s Two Men Contemplating the Moon (1819). [Source – Wikipedia]
James McNeill Whistler’s Nocturne, Blue and Gold—Southampton Water (1872). [Source – Google Arts & Culture
Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night (1889). [Source – Wikipedia]

What is the moony secret? It is the personal conversation that one has with the moon. It is intense yet quick, fierce yet soothing, honest yet an illusion.

Sidereus Nuncius (Latin for Sidereal/ Starry Messenger or Sidereal Message; published in 1610) talks in-depth about the moony secret; it is an astronomical treatise written by Galileo Galilei, the father of modern science.

Title page of Sidereus Nuncius by Galileo Galilei (1610). [Source – Wikipedia Commons]

Becoming one of the first few who used a telescope to study the surface of the moon (along with some constellations and Jupiter’s four moons) Galileo discovered that the moon was not translucent and ‘a perfect sphere’ like Aristotle had believed it to be, that it had mountains and craters which were formed after it was hit by asteroids and comets, just like our planet Earth was.

Galileo’s sketches of the moon from Sidereus Nuncius (1610). [Source – Wikipedia Commons]

The moon is imperfect (its surface is irregular), said Galileo’s theory, and this magnificent, and at the same time, tumultuous discovery brought it (the moon) closer to us mortal beings, providing exhaustive research material for the future scientists, accelerating the world towards a change.

“And yet it (Earth) moves”, a rebellious phrase at that time, allegedly spoken by Galileo, led to his imprisonment.

The Copernican heliocentric view (1543) that the Sun is in the centre of the solar system, with Earth and the other planets orbiting around it in circular paths, was a theory which Galileo studied and defended.

Centuries later, Galileo’s moony secret reached the moon when astronaut David Scott, during the 1972 Apollo 15 mission, demonstrated through the ‘Falling Bodies’ experiment what Galileo had proved long back, that the “acceleration is the same for all bodies subject to gravity on the Moon, even for a hammer and a feather” (watch the video here).

A view of the Apollo 11 lunar module “Eagle” as it returned from the surface of the moon to dock with the command module “Columbia”; the Earth in the background (21st July 1969). [Source – NSSDCA NASA]

A space race between the USA and the Soviet Union led to many successful moon exploration missions, both manned and unmanned ones.

While the US Surveyor probes (1966-1968) transmitted 87,000 pictures of the surface of the moon and measured its chemical properties, the manned missions brought back pieces of the moon; Apollo 11 alone brought 47.5 pounds (21.5 Kg) of the lunar material.

‘Papery pieces of the moon, love’
A collage of photographs of the lunar surface sent by the US Surveyor Probe 7 (1966-1968). [Source – NSSDCA NASA]
Astronaut Pete Conrad inspects the Surveyor 3 spacecraft on the Moon (20th November 1969). [Source – NSSDCA NASA]

The twelve people who have walked on the surface of the moon also left behind items, some as meaningful gifts to the moon and some out of necessity as they needed free space to carry moon rocks home.

A golden olive branch, the Bible, a silicon disk inscribed with goodwill messages from world leaders of 74 countries, American flags, a family photo, three golf balls, scientific pieces of equipment and also, bags full of human waste are some of the “artificial objects” still lying, in worn-out or wiped-out condition, on the moon.

Lying there as a symbol of victory, of advancement, of trust and of human life itself – humans, the mortal beings of the lonely planet Earth.

The silicon disc left on moon by Apollo 11 astronauts (1969). [Source – Wikipedia]
Fallen Astronaut, a statuette, and a plaque were placed on the surface of the moon by astronaut Hadley Rille in remembrance of the astronauts and cosmonauts who died in the advancement of space exploration (1971). [Source – Wikipedia]
Astronaut Charlie Duke’s family portrait left on the surface of the moon (1972). [Source – Wikipedia Commons]

Or maybe these items are just a message for the Moon Rabbit who, according to some East Asian folklore, lives on the moon, pounding elixir of life for the moon goddess Chang’e.

After all, Apollo 11 astronauts were also aware of this story; command module pilot Michael Collins had said to the NASA mission control – “Okay. We’ll keep a close eye out for the bunny girl.”

An 18th-century embroidered Chinese emperor’s robe. A Chinese dragon; a medallion above it shows the White Hare of the Moon, at the foot of a cassia tree, making the elixir of immortality (18th century). [Source – Wikipedia Commons]

We are connecting pieces, we are steadily moving towards the darkness out there, hoping to see the light. We are all reaching out for the moon with our eyes glued to the telescope, our minds calculating the numbers, our hands painting a masterpiece, our words penning an epic, our voices singing a moony melody and our hearts feeling the moony secret.

We have even smelt it (and perhaps even tasted it), the moon, yes we have. The moon dust smelt like burnt gunpowder to most of the astronauts. Quote—

I wish I could send you some, it is amazing stuff, said Apollo 17 astronaut Gene Cernan.
It’s soft like snow, yet strangely abrasive.
Not half bad (sic), said John Young Apollo 16 astronaut.
It smells like spent (sic) gunpowder, said Cernan.

Our love affair with the moon has only grown stronger with time; it is a part of our story and vice-versa, right, dear moon?

Science with its meticulous explorations and art with its colourful gravity will keep bringing us closer to the moon; it will take us to the moon and back.

Till then let us admire the only memento left on the moon that may last for millions of years, which is, the tracks left by the astronauts. Because there is no air or water on the moon, nothing will wipe it off, neither the extreme cold conditions nor the savage sunlight.

Apollo 11 astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin photographed this footprint in the lunar soil as part of an experiment to study the nature of lunar dust and the effects of pressure on the surface (1969). [Source – NSSDCA NASA]

Till then let us continue revelling in the moony secret.


Read More Moon Lovers!


Weekly Newsletter

A weekly dose of stories! Get the posts from the Chiming Stories in your inbox and read it when you can. Subscribe now, it is free!


Recent Posts


Raga Pranayama

When the Music is Good by Dr. Kirell Benzi.

Playing the Raga Pranayama in my heart and soul I am sitting inside this quiet room for so many days now and slowly this world has stopped reeling.

The shrivelled old self shed off its glories and achievements and regrets all at once, it was painful and I did die a little. Then all I did was to look up and breathe, close my eyes and breathe again.  

Now brighter, with no desire to compete with light or a sharper mind or the maestro musician, I sit simply playing the Raga Pranayama.

Yes, often my memory makes me feel overwhelmed, and yet something allows me to accept it all that too with a smile.  

And softly the wind brings a message from the meadows that the dandelions are gushing with joy and beaming for one and all; that the butterflies are coming carrying colours for you and me; that the stream is singing, sparkling sibilantly, shy at first, vibrant then. Oh it is lovely!

*

It is a new beginning, I am sitting in my room and everything has changed as I play the Raga Pranayama.

Dispelling the emaciated fears that had spread and frolicked in my mind, dispelling with the truth of this life force running lightly within and without… the fears just succumbed in the end and this I will remember, always, so that I too can share and struck a happy peaceful note.  

Voices together, singing this happy note, playing the Raga Pranayama will eventually rise above the gloomy cry of this malady.

Together we will rise and break that wall which was once built greedily by us. Hold on, hold on for it will pass.  

Play with me the Raga Pranayama in your heart and soul and let the life energy guide you.

That hazy glow you see when you close your eyes and breathe, that dot, it is the one that surmounts, it has and it will, sometimes with and sometimes without the shell.    


Raga (Sanskrit for “colour” or “passion”) is a melodic framework for improvisation and composition in Indian classical music. Read more here.

Pranayama (prana, Sanskrit for “life force” or “vital energy” and yama, Sanskrit for “restraint” or “control”), is a set of meditative practices designed to control pranawithin the human body by means of various breathing techniques. Read more here.


Also, listen to the magnificent Ragas that inspired me to write this post –  Raga Rasia by Pandit Ravi Shankar

Raga Brindabani Sarang by Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia


Learn more about Data Art by the fantastic Dr. Kirell Benzi, click here.

*


Weekly Newsletter

A weekly dose of stories! Get the posts from the Chiming Stories in your inbox and read it when you can. Subscribe now, it is free!


Recent Posts


In French

Cafe Paris
[Image from Pixabay]

The voice said something in French,

Why me, I thought, I am not French.

The music got loud, people started chit-chatting,

But only after listening to the voice’s French message.

Weirdly everyone stared at me and sipped,

Wine and coffee and wine and coffee.

I followed the voice on my orange moped,

Café to café, table to table, taking orders,

Confusing orders, for I did not understand

What the voice ordered in French.


Weekly Newsletter

A weekly dose of stories! Get the posts from the Chiming Stories in your inbox and read it when you can. Subscribe now, it is free!


Recent Posts


 

Excerpts from the yet-to-be-written book – Unheard Voicemails

“If I have reached your voicemail, will my message also reach you… the message that was meant to be a talk… a conversation… will it be heard by others… will you listen to it whilst storing the grocery… and at what time… surely not now, right? Don’t answer these questions… I have got the answers already, yet I continue talking, recording this message… and now I hope you’re not there, letting me go on and on like this… I hope you’re not there, lying on the sofa, thinking whether to pick up the call or not… I hope you’re not there… My mind’s is talking too fast for me to keep a record of what it is trying to say to me to convey to you via this voicemail. Hmm… So anyway, it was nice… nice voice-mailing you. I guess, I just wanted to hear your voice. Bye!”

“Hey! Me again, sorry for the bizarre voicemail… but not if you thought it was kind of funny… okay, bye!”

“Hi… about the voicemail, it was bizarre… but definitely true, very true… okay, ciao!” 

The Better Way

Kavya was searching for a book to read, only to pass that foggy evening. She was in her grandma’s house for vacation. Nothing but memories was left of her grandparents. A faint picture entered her mind every time she thought of them- she is sitting in her grandpa’s lap and her grandma is reading a book, they are in the balcony, soon she falls asleep but nevertheless feels the warmth because of their presence.

She was young now and restless. An idea came to her, she imagined herself sitting the way her grandma was sitting and reading, she felt that if she copied it she would get some of the serenity that her grandma had on her face. Kavya could see wholeness and contentment in the eyes of her grandma; calmness on her face; as if she is telling everyone to have faith…to believe; all this through a portrait of her. Kavya knew that it wasn’t the magic of the artist but her grandma’s as she trusted her memory and the single thought that was still clear in her mind.

Finally she picked a book and went outside in the balcony. Pulling a chair towards her she sat on it. She sighed…what for…she had no clue herself. Was it something in her life or was she simply missing her grandma? Maybe she sighed because we sometimes do, without knowing that we did.

There were two more pages to finish the first chapter, checked Kavya. She always did so. Kavya didn’t count herself in the category of the fervent readers, but among those who read because others read, because books are there to read and because they know reading is a good habit. There is nothing wrong in being in this category; it is just that you lag in one or the other way.

Trying to sit in a comfortable position Kavya got up and dragged the chair but while doing so she dropped the book. The book was old and some pages peeped out as soon as it hit the floor. ‘Oh!’ said Kavya. They say what happens, happens for the good. While placing the pages properly she found a folded piece of paper. Curiosity made her eyes big. She opened it; her grandma’s handwriting spoke to her. The words were few. It said ‘Just smile…it is the better way’ and under it were the initials of her grandma.

How quickly can things change, how strangely can people change, how fast the light passes in the darkness, right? Kavya couldn’t believe that she was suddenly full of happiness; spirited to do anything. She looked at the piece of paper once again and said, ‘Thank you grandma…thank you so much.’ She got up and left the balcony.

One thing is sure that Kavya didn’t finish that book but then she had something else to finish. The old book is back in the shelf but the message is with Kavya, which will stay with her forever.