Goodbye Neil

August is almost gone. I am in Palo Alto. It is overcast Sunday morning and there is no one on the street yet. I am on my way to the park for a walk. On both sides, the houses are still asleep, somewhat tired from the week gone by. Their gardens look worn from the pressures of the last summer. The fruit trees seem to be readying for a retreat and the smaller seasonal bushes, the dahlias and the black-eyes and the flaming rosebushes want to say good bye.

Neil ArmstrongWalking past all this, I reach the park. There is no one here yet other than the lone raven.

At the park, I see the giant redwoods and the pines that seem unaffected by the impending change of season. I look at them; they are always so timeless and focused on the sky above. Were they ever small, my mind wonders.

I think of a long time ago when I was a little boy.

I remember showing my mother a book catalogue and pleading for the one titled Chandre Jara Giyechhilo: Those Who Wentto the Moon. It was 1965 and I was eight. In a few weeks, the book arrived by post. I simply soaked it in. It was about a spaceship, about earthlings who travelled all the way to the moon and were met with by aliens living there.

I wanted to go to the moon.

Exactly four years later Neil, you actually went to the moon. You stepped out of the Apollo 11; you looked incredibly fascinating to my now 12- year-old eyes and even to this date, I cannot forget the image of your lunar module behind you and the landscape reflected on your visor.

As you stepped on to the surface of the moon, I remember you said something beautiful.

You did not say I thank my mom, my dog, my beautiful wife and two wonderful children for being here.

You did not sing the Star-Spangled Banner.

You said yours was a giant leap for mankind. You were there for everyone Neil; you were there for me!

Then you returned to the earth; your splashdown actually took place in my boy-heart.

And you brought us the most beautiful gift, you brought us moon rock! I recall the moon rock travelled to many countriesall over the world. School children were called to come, see it. In India, it came to Delhi. Delhi was so far away from where I lived, one couldn’t get there in days. The nearest railhead for us was a day’s travel and then it took another two to go to Delhi.

No one ever went to Delhi.

But when the picture of the moon rock was in the papers the next day Neil, I actually went to the moon!

The overcast sky will soon clear up as the day moves along. That is always what happens around here. It is time for me to return.

As I prepare to leave the park behind and walk back, the redwoods and the pines tell me, tonight when the moon comes up, she will be actually there to pay her tribute to you, Neil.

Tonight will be your night.

Comments
Akash Mohapatra Says
Tuesday August 28th 2012

Great Writing!! The moon walker had made us feel to walk on the moon, a rarest of event which was unimaginable during that period of time. He will be the role model forever for all astronauts….

Akash Mohapatra
Rajgangpur, Odisha.

Shantanu Says
Tuesday August 28th 2012

Dear Sir,
Wonderful landscape has been drawn with the way you described the nature in the Morning. Still the debate goes on regarding the first step on the moon. But, whatever it may be, it was a gigantic leap for the mankind, moving towards a dream, that nobody except few might have dreamt of. Last, but no the least, THANKS NEIL..

Shantanu

Guru Says
Friday August 31st 2012

Humility is what i really appreciate with this man. He never showed off after the moon mission and just went back to the university to teach. As a high achiever he could have easily fallen prey to many of the temptations. But amazing how he carried himself after the moon mission.
Truly a great person!
Guru

anil nair Says
Sunday September 2nd 2012

How true.
He thought about mankind first.

Btw, just read your MBA @16.
Great Book for Teenagers…and parents/teachers.
I am asking my my teenage daughters to read it.
I hope all parents do that!!

Regards

Kamal Pandey Says
Monday September 3rd 2012

Awesome …

    ChiRstian Says
    Sunday December 9th 2012

    Really a bombing is a mimoesnr in that there will be no explosive bomb, only a chunk of a spacecraft being crashed into a crater of the moon near a pole at 2600 mph to puncture the crust and kick up some dust, hopefully revealing some water/ice that might be just below the surface. The moon is pelted all of the time with meteorites and small asteroids that have caused the huge craters there over time. This is due to no atmosphere there as we have on Earth which burns them up here most of time. We call them shooting stars . Also without an atmosphere, some explosives needing oxygen wouldn’t work anyway plus they wouldn’t want to vaporize any water that might be there!The spacecraft which has been doing other research for the past couple of weeks wouldn’t be brought back to Earth anyway, so might as well crash it.

Rajesh Singh Says
Friday September 7th 2012

Amazing simplicity and clarity in putting across the thoughts and making the reader visualise the on going story.

Rakesh Says
Tuesday September 25th 2012

Why don’t you too become a member of War On Corruption(IAC OR Baba Ramdev).

Rakesh Says
Wednesday September 26th 2012

A lot has been said about FDI but it is BABA RAMDEV who opened our eyes to the fact that 80% of the FDI that comes to INDIA is the Indian black money deposited abroad that is coming back.

Just 3 scams Coal,2G and CWG cost Bharat 426000 cr definately there have been massive scams like this that has never come to light.There is no question about the fact that a few hundred lac cr of Indian black money is deposited abrod in tax haeven branches and a part of that is in Bharat.

Rakesh Says
Wednesday September 26th 2012

Bharat is indeed not a poor country but it has been made poor by blackmoney and corruption.

The industry people want FDI in retail so that they would have contracts to build new buildings get IT contracts to write their software and create the IT NETWORKS. But every job created over there would be at the cost of a shop being shut down or stopping a potential shop from opening.

Rakesh Says
Wednesday September 26th 2012

A very small shpkeeper even if he sells 200 kg of foodgrains,50 kg of pulses and 50 kg of spices a day would make a profit of around Rs 1500 each workday ie around 40000 rupees each month.

A retail store employee selling 10 times that amount will not even make Rs 10000.

The small shops are actually the cradles of Indian entreprenuership if they close down we become a culture of service class people.

Bindu Nair Says
Wednesday September 26th 2012

Sir
I just finished reading “The Professional”. No words to thank you.I could relate to every word you have written, a must read for everyone before starting their career.

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