Tuesday, 11 July 2006

Once Upon A Launchpad

Once upon a launch pad, there sat a towering and emotionally healthy satellite-supporting contraption. As India watched, the satellite-supporting-contraption spread its arms wide open, like a mother bird sending her fledgling out into the skies. "Fly away, fly away, my pretty one," the towering satellite-supporting-contraption cried (although her words, or perhaps his, were lost under the roar of the satellite leaping joyously up and away.

The satellite-supporting-contraption watched sadly, and shed a tear or two (unnoticed by us insensitive mortals, for our eyes were on the satellite, and besides, the heat of the engines evaporated the tears in no time, leaving only a miniscule and salty trace). As the satellite arched upward and outward, the satellite-supporting-contraption consoled herself (or himself, as the case may be) with the knowledge that if you love something, you let it go. If it comes back to you, it's - Oops. And alas. The satellite's burst for freedom did just that. Burst.

The satellite-supporting-contraption stood frozen, and firmly welded, on the launch pad. As any good parent knows, fledglings must be let go, to fly, to make their mistakes, to experience the joy of soaring independent, if only to end up in the Bay of Bengal. This is the law of the jungle, of Mother Nature, and of the launch pad. If you love something, you let it go. If it comes back to you, it's everybody's funeral. If you hold on and never let go, neither of you fulfils your destiny.

The satellite-supporting-contraption folded her (or his) arms in resignation. S/he had played her part. Or his. Perhaps one day there would be another satellite in her arms. Or his. Who could tell? (The scientists. Or rather, the people who fund the scientists).

Today India watched, and tomorrow India will forget, the noble unselfish satellite-supporting contraption. And one day, far, far in the future, s/he will be scrapped down for roofing over the slums that will, no doubt, still exist, unhindered by the space race. S/he will shelter them from the sun and the rain and she will feel noble and unselfish yet again, in a fragmented sort of way. And then she will live happily ever after, or however long scrap metal lasts before disintegrating into rust.

Post-script: Due to its phallic resemblance, I am inclined to think of the satellite-supporting-contraption as a he rather than a she: a father, albeit a very nurturing one in touch with his feminine side.

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