Let’s Talk Astronomy Tonight!- Part 1

I’ve always enjoyed looking up and gazing at the sky, be it the day or the night sky. During my childhood days, I lived in the suburbs of Mumbai, where there was less light pollution than in the cities. And that meant clearer skies.

We lived in a bungalow, so I had the entire terrace to myself. I used to lie down and gaze into the night sky with my pet dog for company (Remember Sweety? I’ll link up the posts related to her here, if you want to know more about her: https://twinklespark.wordpress.com/category/dog-days/ ). I remember one day my mom told me about a meteor shower that was about to occur the next night. She read about it in a newspaper. I was so excited and couldn’t wait! When the time had come, I went up to the terrace, spread the mattress in its usual spot, lied down and waited. Nothing. My mom joined me after a while. After sometime she pointed at a shooting star, I missed it. She pointed at another one in a few minutes, this time I saw something pass by from the corner of my eye, but only a glimpse. There was nothing for a long time after that. Just as we were about to get up, I spotted a shooting star! Ah, I was so happy! That was the first time I had clearly noticed a shooting star. I was about 7 or 8. I remember how I was glad to have seen a shooting star, but dejected to (apparently) not having seen a meteor shower after waiting for so long! Maybe we were looking in the wrong direction? Or maybe I had imagined so much more- I used to think meteor showers were more like a visible, horrific attack of meteors and asteroids on the Earth!

When I was a little older, say 10 or so, there was news about how a crescent moon, Jupiter and one other planet I don’t remember which now (possibly Mars?), would be so close to each other and in such a pattern that these three together would be resembling a ‘smiling face’. I did observe it and grew so fascinated by this marvel of universe that I asked my mom to call up my cousin so that he could watch it too, from some other part of the city.

When I was 12, my parents got me an Encyclopaedia and I remember jumping directly to the Astronomy section first, reading and gulping down everything I could and then moving onto the other sections.

These were some of the earlier days about how I got interested in the study of astronomy. I’m planning to post my experiences related to this field in a form of a series. Would you like that, or do you prefer some other way? Do let me know.

Do you like gazing into the sky? Does the workings of the universe fascinate you as well?

-Suri

P.S.: I crossed 1k followers on this blog last month, yayy!! Thank you so much for the love, you guys! I know I had been really inactive past couple of months, but I’ll try and make up for it!

A Readathon And More…

Hello fellow bloggers!

Have you ever participated in any Readathon? I’ve never done it before. But well, I’m participating in one right now, the 24in48 readathon which is an international readathon. Check their site for more details: https://24in48.com/social-landing-page/ you can still sign up now. Prizes will be awarded only for those who sign-up.

The goal of this readathon is to complete 24 hours of reading over the weekend i.e. in these two days- Saturday and Sunday which is 48 hours, we have to read upto 24 hours. The number of books we read, the genre and the type of books that we want to read can be selected by us. Even if we don’t complete the full 24 hours, we still devote our time to reading, right? So that’s a win-win.

I’m currently reading Circe by Madeline Miller. I’ve read numerous reviews about the book but not one negative feedback. So I’ve decided to read it during the readathon.

It’s been so long since I’ve had a casual post like this on my blog. Just to talk with you guys! How is everyone?

Do you read poetry? Do you write poetry ?
I had read the first half of this book, Gitanjali, many years ago; but never finished the book. To those who don’t know, Rabindranath Tagore is greatly revered in India for his writings.

This book, which is basically a collection of his poems, was originally written in Bengali. While reading the first half, I came to a stage where I just couldn’t move forward, not because his writings aren’t good; but because they are so good that I wanted to read them in the original Bengali language. I am of the opinion that some part of the content always gets lost in translation and I didn’t want to miss out on anything. But alas, I’m neither a Bengali nor do I know how to speak/ write Bengali. Conclusion? I’ve never read the second half of it in hopes of learning Bengali first which I never did. But I’m planning to read this book all over again, as part of the 24in48 readathon if I complete Circe first (which I genuinely doubt).
Have you ever came across the translation of a book and felt the need to learn a completely new language because you wanted to read the original copy?

Another poetry book which I’ve wanted to read since a long, long time is Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman.

On other note, I’m so close to 1k followers on my blog! The feeling is surreal. I’m really happy and glad to know that people read and like my writings. Thank you so much for your love. 💕

P.S.: As I publish this post, I’ve officially completed 6 chapters of Circe and clocked in 4.5 hours of the readathon. There’s still time to join in the readathon. It’s super fun! 😋🎉

Link of 24in48 readathon: https://24in48.com/social-landing-page/

– Suri

Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

Book title: Flipped
Author: Wendelin Van Draanen
Published: 9th October 2001
Publisher: Penguin Random House LLC
Genre: Romance novel, Young Adult Fiction

My Ratings: 3/5 🌟

Flipped is like your regular dose of YA books. It’s a cute teenage lovestory about a boy and a girl who are complete opposites of each other. The thing that I loved the most about this book is that it has two protagonists. So you get to learn about the exact same story but from two different POVs. It is really interesting because I feel that it tells us how unique we as humans are! We might be given the same kind of story, the same struggles and hardships and the same love and affection but at the end it’s totally upto us as to how do we interpret it. I’ve liked the concept of multiple protagonists since George R. R. Martin’s popular series: A Song of Ice and Fire.

Interesting part: The part where Bryce (the male protagonist) looks for a rooster in Juli’s (the female protagonist) backyard got me into thinking. It made me so confused about hens, roosters and chickens! I was literally asking my mom and Google what is the difference between these three and which is a male or a female, although I had already studied this before. We also have a farm at our village with hens and roosters!!

I loved Juli’s obsession and love for the sycamore tree. It is beautiful and emotional at the same time. I would like to paint the scene someday, the way I imagined it while I was reading: Juli sitting on the top-most branch of the tree, enjoying the beauty and serenity of life.

Film Adaptation: Flipped has also been adapted into a movie by the same name. I haven’t watched it yet, but one of my friends did and he says it’s good. .

Quote that I like: “‘A painting is more than the sum of its parts,’ he would tell me, and then go on to explain how the cow by itself is just a cow, and the meadow by itself is just grass and flowers, and the sun peeking through the trees is just a beam of light, but put them all together and you’ve got magic.”

To conclude I would say, if you’re looking for a light, fun and an innocent YA lovestory, you should totally go for this.

Note: Book Review on my blog after soooo long. Do tell me how you guys like it! Have you read this book before? Is it on your TBR? Or have you watched the movie? I’ve heard it’s cute and even better than the book (though I doubt it).

– Suri

Katherine Langford

Katherine Langford as Hannah Baker in 13 Reasons Why

I realized a while ago that I haven’t uploaded any of my artworks after 2015. So here’s a portrait I made yesterday of Katherine Langford. She’s the lead actress from the American web television series ’13 Reasons Why’. I haven’t really seen the entire series yet, only some 6-7 episodes, but I feel that for a newcomer she has done a flawless job of portraying the Hannah Baker as depicted in the Thirteen Reasons Why book by Jay Asher (Oh yes, I’ve read the book!).

Just a fancy picture that I clicked

Paper: I drew it in an A6 sized Sketch book of 130 gsm.

Pens: Pigma Micron 0.20 mm line width and Pigma Micron 0.25 mm line width

A WIP picture which probably looks more like Hannah Baker than the end result

– Suri

P.S.: I may upload more of my artworks on my blog in the next few days, so keep visiting!

Waiting For a Rainy Day

Sitting quietly by the windowsill, I was watching the colony of tiny ants, patiently carrying cubes of sugar, lining up in a queue and walking slow but steady. My eyes follow their path down from the windowsill through the curvy pipes and then straight into the grass. The grass is fresh but in need of water. I went inside to grab a jug of water. As I was pouring water into the potted plants, I broke a sweat. I had hardly done any work! Yet the heat of summers along with the humidity in Mumbai is enough to be soaked in sweat within minutes.

I was longing for the rain. We all do it, right? Towards the end of summers, when the degrees soar up insanely, we all know who to wait for. Especially in Mumbai, where winters are dull and summers are hot, our only saviour is the rain. That’s the one thing which we have in abundance!

It’s quiet tonight. Rains have already arrived in the southern parts of India, slowing traversing it’s way upwards. The thought of rain excites me. Of course, I’m not fond of the thunder which follows the rain.

Our relatives from countryside have already notified us about the arrival of rain at their place. It’s so close now. I can totally feel it. It was breezy some time ago but now it’s even more windy. And it’s considerably cooler now. Signs of rain. It’s night time, so I cannot actually see the clouds clearly, but I’m sure it’s cloudy as no star is visible.

I hope it rains tonight. I hope it lowers the temperature.

Dear Rainy Day,

I’m Waiting In Anticipation. Come Soon.

Yours Truly,

Suri

– Suri

Indecisiveness

Sometimes, a blank page is all you see. You hold a pen in your hand, thinking about things to say, things to write, things to do; but nothing clicks. Or maybe it does click at times, but your hand doesn’t consider it worthy enough to let the thought flow in the form of ink through your pen.

You have in your hand scores of pressing issues to be solved as soon as possible, personal issues, issues requiring only your personal opinion. Yet, you somehow manage to find silly excuses to postpone it, you rely on other so-called important tasks at hand, to ignore the really important issues.

But procrastination isn’t the solution. Sooner or later, we have to face it, we need to face it, before it’s too late to act upon. But when? But how?

– Suri

Just Keep Running!

I step outside
Soak in the afternoon sun
Call out your name
You turn to look
And then start running to me
I hold you tight
Cry my heart out in your fur
Hug you and share with you
All the stories and the hurt
You are attentive
You understand my pain
You listen to me, as always
The terrible things I tell you about
The weird thoughts that I carry around
The fights, the misunderstandings,
The fears, the anguish
I tell you all, but you judge me not

You silently wink that it’ll be alright
As I weep softly with dry tears on my face
We both lay down on the floor,
You on your tummy, me on my back
But huddled together like there’s no room
You were, are and always will be
The best support system of my life.

Yes, it’s been years since we last met,
It’s been some years since you left the planet
But I hope you’re happy, wherever you are
I hope you have a big and wide open ground there
And nobody to stop you, from running around
Because, wasn’t that always your dream?
To run, run, eat and run?

You showed me, no matter what happens
We should never stop running
Feel the pain and double the pace
You were magic, the brightest light in my life
I miss you, but wait, don’t you worry
For I’ll always remember the good old days
To inspire me to run again
And not lay gasping for your presence
For it will only weaken my soul

I’ll run again, I’ll live your dream
And thus I’ll make it up to you
To the days that we’ve lost
To the times that we could have met, but didn’t.

I love you, Sweety.

Note: Here’s another poem dedicated to my dog, Sweety who passed away around 5 years ago.

– Suri

Sanitation survey

Link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScPhbsTaQ_O_5rWWiQ8wonSHTdBv0HHXm96lbAJMtPFnXdEdQ/viewform?usp=sf_link

 

!! Attention dear Indian readers !!

     Maintaining sanitation in India is a major issue. Lack of access to clean toilets has an impact on public health and dignity. The result of this is usually open defecation which is associated with serious public health issues. According to the Swachhta Status Report issued in 2016 by the Government of India, ‘in rural areas, the percentage of peope practicing open defecation was estimated to be 52.1%. In urban India, this percentage was estimated to be 7.5%. Out of the 3788 villages surveyed, 13.1% villages in India were found to have community toilets. Out of the sample villages, at all India level, 1.7% villages were found to be having the community toilets but not using them.’

     Many new toilets are being built around the world to help end open defecation. Unfortunately, many of these new toilets, still remain unused because of improper maintenance; they are not cleaned regularly, are poorly managed and smell bad. As people experience discomfort using these unmaintained toilets, they continue to relieve themselves in the open where the air is fresher, dodging the idea of visiting a public toilet. Poor management and hygienic maintenance are very serious issues. A well-kept toilet will encourage proper usage and prevent deadly diseases.

     Hygienic sanitation facilities are crucial for public health. It is estimated that up to 5 million people die each year from preventable waterborne diseases, as a result of inadequate sanitation and hygiene practices. Sanitation is a necessity for a healthy life as this issue is directly related to a person’s health.

     We are designing an IoT (Internet of Things) based system to track the upkeep and maintenance of public toilets. Our system is divided into 5-6 subsystems based on the requirements of the authorities. It will provide the toilet usage data, the maintenance data, the water usage data, etc. to the authorities.

     In order to ensure best practices and standards in toilet ethics and toilet design, we need to integrate conventional cleanliness strategies with modern sanitation technologies. To make this idea more people oriented, cost effective while considering needs of people into account, we need to interact with the potential customers and with the users. This can be done with the help of this survey. Using this platform, we are sure to gain tremendous insights into the actual needs and necessities of the people who have experienced the problems first-hand.

     Using the results of this survey, we will have a fair idea of the current conditions in public toilets and the steps to be taken to overcome the problems.

     Sanitation is a sensitive topic in India. We would like to overcome this hurdle and contribute to the betterment of the society. Spare us your 5 mins to fill in this survey. No personal details are required.

Link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScPhbsTaQ_O_5rWWiQ8wonSHTdBv0HHXm96lbAJMtPFnXdEdQ/viewform?usp=sf_link

 

     Please fill and share this survey form with your friends and with as many people as you can. The data collected through this survey will provide us valuable insights for our project.

 

 – Suri

#FlashbackFriday

When the old thoughts creep back in
and you feel cold underneath your skin

When the old days flash right through
and you think that it’s the midnight’s blue

When you start to run quicker and faster
but time catches you swifter and sooner

When your memory’s a blurry, crumbled picture
with a tiny bit of frown and a bit of smile, a dash of tears but sprinkles of hope!

Pause. Stay. Stop. And breath…
do not fall prey to the past’s agonizing bond.
But ‘begone!’ you yell out loud to it’s face
for only then will it shiver and abscond.


– Suri

P.S.: Poetry after sooo long, yaayy! Comment and let me know what do you feel about this poem. Did you like it? 😀