Star of our dreams

I have a fondness for stars; not of the Hollywood or Bollywood kinds, but the ones that spangle the sky. Perhaps the seeds were sown in childhood. My mind parts the mist of many years and I see before me my teacher of standard 1. She did not teach as much as inspire. “Have you seen the star-filled sky at night and wondered where they go to in the morning?” she asked us, her wide-eyed pupils, one day.

“Well, here they are.” And with that she opened a box full of gleaming little stars, all cut from shining, glossy paper. We would each get one every time we did our work well. How hard we worked and how precious these shining little specks were to us!
With the passing years, my fascination for stars grew, widening to embrace the real ones that stud the sky. Many a time, I have sat by the sea, watching the setting sun as it sinks into it, leaving the sky flaming in colours of gold, orange and red. Then all at once comes deepening twilight with its shades of purple and grey. But I continue to sit, my gaze fixed on the sky, for a different kind of magic is about to begin. Hesitantly and then quickly, one by one, the stars prick the growing dark until they wink and blink from every side. It is a beautiful sight and it is made more beautiful by the fact that it unfolds every night.

This love I have for stars must have been rubbed off on my family. When my first granddaughter saw her new-born sister, she exclaimed, “She looks like a star. Let’s name her ‘Tara’!” And Tara she is.

We human beings are creatures of the earth. We look before and after, but rarely do we cast our glance upwards. This is true in a philosophical sense too. Gazing at stars transports us to other worlds. Few other things evoke the sense of the mysterious as much as the sight of these numerous glittering orbs. What are they, these gleaming bodies that have held themselves aloft for eons, we cannot help asking ourselves.

And in this season, that of Christmas, they intrude on our consciousness rather more. We see many lighted ones, big and small, hanging outside buildings and from doorways. They remind us that like the three wise men, we too can follow to the end, the star of our dreams!

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