The other day my young nephew came up to me and announced rather triumphantly that he had seen the Seven Great Bears in the sky the previous night. Apparently, this was his first ever exposure to a night sky.
Pondering over his innocent discovery, I wondered if the younger generation, cocooned in AC environments in concrete cities, was actually missing out. How many such marvels of nature has this generation missed out on?
Plucking memories from my own childhood, I recalled the starry nights when we laid out our jute charpoys in the open courtyard, played with the moon, the stars and the clouds, devising new games every night and creating a ruckus till a mild reprimand from our parents quietened us down.
During holidays we left home early in the mornings to climb and fall from trees. The raw fruit we shook down from the branches and never bothered to wash or clean tasted ever so delicious. We bathed from the garden hose. We cycled to school, peddling endlessly everyday in the freezing winter, sizzling summer or torrential rains. We enjoyed our mobility and freedom. No scooters or bikes, no overflowing school buses or autos. We were happy, fit and fine.
But the present new generation is no less either. My nephew cannot reconcile to the fact that I don’t know how to work on computers or, much less, send an SMS on the mobile phone. He feels sorry for me.
Well, somewhere between the star surfing of yesteryear and the net surfing of today, our world has shrunk. We are now a part of a global family on this planet Earth.
Outside, up in the sky, the universe continues to showcase its celestial miracles. Only we don’t have the time to stand and stare.