Moonstruck for ever

Moonstruck for ever

The moon has recently been making headlines. First, it was Michael Jackson’s moonwalk playing everywhere when the King of Pop suddenly left for neverland. Then came the 40th anniversary of man’s first moon landing. Thereafter, news about Chandrayaan, our own desi mission to the moon. And the grand finale last month, when the moon eclipsed the sun completely in the longest solar eclipse of this century.

The moon must be pleased with all the attention, though I still believe the best news ever about it is contained in the delightful Pink Floyd album ‘Dark Side of the Moon’. Songs which are now several moons old but blow your mind splendidly each time you hear them. Of course these numbers work particularly well if you are as high as the planets themselves, and since we could not afford whisky in college, bootlegged moonshine was our only option to making this happen.

It was different as a child, of course. We waited eagerly for ‘Chandamama’, our favourite monthly book of stories named so aptly after the moon. We heard scary stories of wolves howling at the moon. And we smiled as we heard how Lord Ganesha, chronicler of Mahabharat, hurled his tusk at the moon.

But my most memorable encounter with the moon was on a summer’s night in Dodital, a beautiful Himalayan lake. I had trekked up from Uttarkashi, and was spending the night in a makeshift cottage by the lakeside. There was a full moon in the sky. It cast a luminous spell of light on the grey waters. In the distance, snow capped peaks shone silently in the shadowy light. The lake was the maiden and the moon her tiara.

Then, within an instant, I saw the waters open and two golden trouts jumped right out of the lake. All of a sudden, the rays of the moon appeared to envelop the two frolicking fish. Their bright gold and rainbow scales were magically lit up by the silver sheen, and the rest of the lake appeared to go totally dark. It was as if the moon had been waiting patiently just to spotlight this playful dance. As the fish leapt up again and again, the moonlight danced with them everywhere. It was the most magical sight, more mesmerising than Jacko and Neil Armstrong appearing together. After all, I thought, the moon is the real thing and they are merely pretenders to its glory.

Suddenly, the fish went back into their icy cold waters, and at exactly the same moment the moon retreated behind a cloud.  In the sheer darkness, the beautiful haunting images remained. The moondance of Dodital had taken less than a minute to play out, but I was moonstruck for ever.

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