One small step….remembering Tintin….

This week, I woke up early to see one of the proudest times in our nation’s history. Something you believe you may live long enough to tell your grandkids. I saw India put her first footprint on the moon. 22nd October, 2008 at 6:22 AM (IST), we launched the Chandrayaan -1, with its target – the Moon. Not getting into the details, (for fear of being geeky) the satellite will orbit the moon and perform some really amazing stuff (perform cartwheels; do stand up comedy and even a puppet show…bad joke!). One of the key objectives of the unmanned satellite is to put an Indian flag on the surface of the moon.

I woke up, to see the entire launch from start till the rocket was out of sight. I remember seeing videos of the Apollo space launch, (on all those encyclopedia cd’s that were gifted to me when I was a kid) big bold letters of USA on the side of the ship; I remember hearing Kennedy’s call to Armstrong in space; the whole, ‘one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind’ bit. Despite conspiracy theories that the entire moon trip was a hoax, I know for sure that this mission by India is real. I for one had goose bumps while listening to the final few digits of the count down and seeing the PSLV rocket launch into space. It wasn’t like in the Armageddon movie with Steve Tyler singing in the background, the American flag flying high next to the shuttle and all the usual Hollywood patriotic jazz, but this was equally thrilling. This was all real. No way is it a hoax.

It’s absolutely fabulous; in a time where Indians are busy fighting among one another with reservations and regionalism, and a time when our financial situation isn’t the greatest, not to mention all those stupid infidels we call terrorists; we actually took our first small step into a much larger universe. Success in otherwise turmoil.

I remember having an odd sense of pride in being part of this republic, a feeling that seems to be waning with every passing day. I pulled out my old Tintin comics, and started reading my favourite two;

Destination Moon and Explorers on the Moon. I remember reading all the fantastic creations of Herge nearly 10 years ago. The tank on the moon, espionage in space, discovering ice in the deep caverns,etc. That day was the right day to dust off those comics and read them again. I managed to finish Destination Moon by the time my cab picked me up. All day at work, all I could think about was getting back home to finish the sequel. Which I did, despite the fact that I ought to be practicing for the exams which around the corner.

Such moments of feeling pure awesomeness and nostalgia rarely come these days, and I am taking it. It’s not everyday that we put a rocket in space.

Pictures: courtesy: Wikipedia, Images from google.