A true story of the twinkling stars, up there in the night sky.
The best thing about night are the stars, and it didn’t take much time for me to fall in love with those small twinkling lights which held tons of mysteries. The National Aluminium Company Limited (NACLO), a small township in Orrisa. This place was smaller than half of the Noida, but it meant the universe to me. From my first step to my first school fight to my first crush, I made memories. The view of the night sky, with galaxies of stars, from this place enticed me more.
Although the NACLO had two big factories working 24×7, still the air streaming over there was breathable and the sky, blue and alluring. We didn’t have much power cuts. It’s because NACLO generated electricity on its own. A five-minute cut could result in lakhs of rupees of loss for the company, but we did have load shedding. And those were the best nights. Unlike any other place, we used to cherish load shedding because it resulted in a meeting with my friend at midnight amongst the cool breeze on the rooftops. Yes, we did that. The rooms burnt as hot as ovens so, we literally shifted on the rooftops. I, Baba, Mumma and the tiny Abid, my younger sibling. Mumma used to go down later, but we three kids used to stay up all night. Most of the times, I and my neighbour’s kids just walked around and talked our ass out, and then I had my favourite part. Lying next to my Baba.
My Baba worked in Barampur which was150 km away from NACLO. He came home every weekend. I don’t remember anything that checked my patience, the way they wait for his return checked it. He is my trunk of knowledge, escape from the reality and my fluffy pillow at nights like these. I used to wait for all the talks and walks and for the moment to come, patiently.
During weekends, under those shiny nights, while we laid on the cots staring at the twinkling stars, I learned many stories of the ones that were near me as well as of the burning balls, miles and miles away from me.
One night, I asked my Baba,
“Baba, tell me about those sparkling spots that the sky harbours.”
“Oh! the stars. The crown jewels of the immense sky. The necklace enriching the capricious sky”, he said, making me more curious.
I asked, “Why are they so tiny? Why did Allah make such small jewels for this huge sky? What functions do they serve?”
Mumma said, “They are our beloved ancestors.”
I asked, “Is it true? Will I become one, later in my life? Tell me what patterns do they make? Tell me, Baba!”
Staring at me, he gave me a small half-faced smile.
He laughed and said, “That’s a lot of questions. I will divide them, but not all tonight. We will keep some for later too.”
I don’t know why he did this, but at the same time, I was happy to get the answers of few at least. Later, I found that it was his tiredness that made the pact with my questions.
He started, “I will give you two reasons why stars exist, one scientific, full of facts and logic, and the other what my father used to tell me when I was as old as you. You can choose to believe whatever you like. One is logical and the other is illogical, but let me first tell you that my favourite is the illogical one.”
I came closer to him and Abid, who was peacefully asleep by then in between us.
I sighed, pleasing Baba to start it.
“First the logical one. These stars are a part of the Universe. A ball of gases and energy. They burn until they die. They are a source of heat and energy. The Sun that you see in the morning is also a star. They keep a balance in the Universe, silently, providing us with the heat and directions to the sea sailors and the workers, who built pyramids or the group of nomads that were travelling in the deserts. They born and they die. So, Allah created them as a guide for us. They make us feel that we are at home, a place where we belong. They form constellations at nights.”
This was the logical answer and I was thrilled to my bone. No sleep yet. Full eyes on my stars.
Distracting me from my thoughts, he said, “Now my favourite part. So why did Allah create those shiny spots? See, humans are a creature which is very weak, emotionally. Like you and me. We feel sad and happy too, angry and anxious too. We need to tackle a lot of challenges in our day to day life like your homework, my work and a lot of other things. So, Allah decided to give us a gift. A thing whose one sight would return us all the energy we spend every day in doing our work. And so, he created stars. A ray of hope. Jibran, they are not different from us. They are born and they die, but what sets them apart is their ability to radiate energy and hope. And yes, some of them are our ancestors too. Look they only seem small. Some of them are even bigger than our own planet.”
All this was interesting but what got my attention was that, that they are a source of hope.
Baba said, “Take, for example, a star is born today. Since it’s very far away, its light takes a lot of time to reach us. Almost fifteen years. We don’t see them till their light doesn’t reach us. And when they die, their light still reaches us for another fifteen years. We don’t even know that when one part of our solar system is born and when it dies.”
“Okay”, I said, “But how is all this hope?”
“See, sometimes in life, we feel low and broken up. We don’t see any light. We are hopeless. At those times, we should remember these stars. Its light doesn’t reach us for fifteen years after its birth. So, if we don’t see a light, doesn’t mean that nothing exists there. It does. It takes time to show itself but eventually, it does. We just have to wait. And other times, we lose someone or something forever and feel sad about the loss, at those time, we should remember the death of a star. Although, it’s not there, entity. So, when someone leaves, don’t think that they just went away. Their light is still there. All we got to do is keep looking and we would find them around, surely.”
He choked his throat and drank some water.
He continued, “They give us hope when they are born and they give us hope when they die. Son, always remembers that one needs to be a star. One needs to know the value of light in oneself. Allah created those stars so that, when we are lost in the dark and our heads are down, we don’t lose ourselves completely, so that we just look up and find our way. Every problem has a solution. All you got to do is look up and trek the stars.”
His words still echo in my ears. That night had a huge impact on my life. Those words made me into who I am today. Even today, when I feel sad or I miss someone or stuck in some trouble, all I do is look up, and find an army of sparkling spots trying to cheer me up.
Don’t you trust me?
Trek one, up in the sky and live up.