IN A SPACE OF MY OWN – Ninad Mhatre

I was a very inquisitive kid, with a growing thirst for knowledge and a knack of annoying everyone around me with my constant questioning about the most mundane things that I lay my eyes on. “Why does a dog walk on 4 legs?” “Why can’t I walk on water?” “What are those shiny things up in the sky?”

Needless to say, the prospect of spending time with me propelled people towards find their hidden creativity and a there was a flourish of some really amazing excuses.

As I grew up, I started relying less on people and more on some solid written evidences. I turned to the Encyclopedia. Talks of an astounding discovery called the internet had created quite a buzz, but it remained to be an unattainable luxury for me.

My mother’s joy knew no bounds when I demanded a set of encyclopedias for my 8th birthday and my demands were met without any reluctance whatsoever. There lay on my table, a set of 7 encyclopedias, each addressing different aspects, be it space, history, mythology, sports. For a kid my age, I was quite well informed and well acquainted with several topics mentioned in there. However, the space encyclopedia interested me the most. Now there is no particular reason as to why this happened, but I am pretty sure its cover (A beautiful depiction of the solar system with a zoomed out image of the milky way pointing our solar system’s location) had a lot to do with it and somehow one particular subject stood out for me from the other 6 and caught my fancy.

In no time at all I had gone through the whole book and was hungry for more information. Soon a whole new set of encyclopedias lay on my table, all the books dedicated to shredding light on the darkest and murkiest corners of the universe. Although some parts were beyond my understanding, I determinedly scoured the entire set and had got a gist of the in intricacies involved in the study of astronomy. Leaving the earth’s orbit and peddling into outer space became my dearest ambition.

Like most people’s childhood ambition, mine too died out. I got occupied with other stuff and my zeal to put myself in space burned out. But it did leave a lasting impression on me. The movies I watched, the sci-fi novels I read were all influenced by my childhood passion.

Be it Ben Affleck and Bruce Willis’ heroics to save the planet from a rogue asteroid in Armageddon, or Matthew Mcconaughey flitting through space and peeking in the past through a multi-dimensional window, or the exploits of Luke Skywalker, even the mention of anything space related is enough to keep me glued to my seat till the end of a movie or a book.

But sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t let go. The possibilities were infinite. I wanted to make the universe my strolling park. I wanted to glide through the unknown without any fear. I don’t blame anyone in particular. I just feel that the existence of a system which would help countless individuals realize their dreams and ambitions has become pressing.

My dearest ambition still remains unrealized. The inquisitive child is all hushed up now. The questions have finally stopped.

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