Gazing long into the endless night skies sprinkled with diamond like stars had always fascinated me.
In the autumn of 2004, came an unexpected opportunity. It brought S.P.A.C.E. in my life. S.P.A.C.E. i.e. Science Popularization Association of Commutators and Educators is an organization which promote science and in particular astronomy. The moment I heard about it I felt a sense of joy and I knew instantly that this is a life time opportunity which cannot be missed. In spite of facing some turbulence from family and some negative suggestions from my friends on how my studies can get affected by pursuing an extracurricular activity such as this which demands a lot of time, I never gave a second thought to the decision I took instantly while sitting in the conference room of my school attending the introductory workshop from S.P.A.C.E.
On 30 April 2005, I realized what I would have missed in my life if I would not have heard of my heart to pursuing my dream.
As a part of the program offered to us by S.P.A.C.E. were 2 nights in 1 year in which they would take us to a remote sight separated from the glorious life of city to observe the night sky in its full glory.
The first of such night was on 30 April 2005 when I went to the magical land of Nuh. Nuh is a small village in Haryana, India which has hardly got a population of few hundred at the most. Its serene environment, surrounding hills and scenic beauty can mesmerize anyone. Nuh is not a popular tourist destination and so to observe the beauty of the place one needs to have an urge to find peace.
My first trip to Nuh, India and for the matter of fact, every subsequent visit to that place somehow brought me closer to myself. It was like discovering my own self. Whenever I think of that place my heart fills with beautiful memories and it replenishes me with joy and happiness.
Not only did I reconnect with myself but I connected a lot with the locals of that place. Staying with the local people was a great experience, the one I could never have if I hadn’t joined the astronomy club. Listening to their stories, working with them and sharing our lives proved too fascinating for them as much as it was for us.
But the main exciting part of our trip used to start after 12 am when the night sky is usually in its full glory.
From our resting place we used to move further on the outskirts of village where the darkness seems to engulf everything. It used to be so dark that our torch beams seemed to stretch miles when pointed towards the deep dark sky. The instant I first arrived at this deserted place I was in complete awe.
Without any lights in the vicinity of the place the sky seemed to be a blanket of thousands of stars. It was the sky like I had never seen in my life.
I never understood what was so special about that place but somehow lying on the ground staring deep into to sky surrounded by small hills, observing hundreds of star patterns gave me a reason to believe in my own existence and the reason behind it. The aura of that place at night used to make me feel connected with the universe at once.
Everything about Nuh is special to me. Whether be it the people there, our resting place, our observation site, the forest or the hills. I believe the place itself can give a sense of peace to anyone one who is in dire need of it. To me, Nuh gave me a reason to believe that I am not only a part of this universe but that too an important one. It gave me the much needed sense of freedom. Even today when the frustrations of life start to take a toll on me, I prefer to go to that place and spend a night in this wonderful magical place whose magic lies in its simplicity and quietness.
About the Author: Aakash Baweja from New Delhi, India. I am an IT engineer, an amateur astronomer and a part time actor. I love travelling especially to places which offer plethora of scenic beauty.