Pole star and co-star



My six-year-old daughter was drawing a picture of my mother. Suddenly, she said “Papa, I want to draw a picture of my grandpa also. But I have not seen him; when will he visit us?” I made the usual elderly statement that he had gone and joined God in heaven.

She counter-questioned asking when he would return. I don’t subscribe to the concept of rebirth, so I told her that he wouldn’t ever come back and that he had become a bright shining star in the sky. She started sobbing and said she wanted to see the star that her grandpa had become.

It was already dark so I took her to the terrace and fortunately, the sky was clear. For a moment I pondered over the imponderable; which star to point at, because I would have to be prepared for a flurry of questions. I decided on the ‘Pole Star’ since I knew a few things about that. I pointed at the star and she asked, “Is that Ajja star?” I agreed and then added that people called it the Pole Star too.
Her sobs had petered down but not her queries. She then asked why the Pole Star was brighter than the other stars. Usually my response to her unending queries ended with the advice that she should study hard and be a bright student. So I told her that the ‘Ajja’ star is the smartest, most-knowledgeable being in the sky and guides people on the earth, and that is why it is the brightest.

She then wanted to know who the ‘Pole’ star guided, and so I replied that it guided people lost on the high seas and soldiers in the wilderness. I told her that she should study well and guide people in life. Thankfully, she immediately agreed to this and said she would be a star on the earth and that I should do the same too.
But she also said that I should never go to the skies and that I should always remain as a ‘co-star’ on earth with her. I nodded with filial love. She took her clipboard and wrote, “My papa is the best in the world” and showed it to my wife. My eyes were brimming and couldn’t see any more.

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