Really, what is all this to-do about the moon?
From Kalidasa to Banbhatt to modern day poets - hundreds of them have sighed and starved away with a vengeance, wasting reams of precious parchments describing their beloved's beauty to the moon.
Had Kalidasa access to the latest pictures released by NASA of the moon, especially its barren craters and dusty lifeless, airless atmosphere, he would have jumped off the terrace of Vikramaditya's palace.
I came across this post on an Internet chat room, presumably for Indian poets. (No, I'm not a member, I would admit to writing poetry only under torture)
LoveSong21 writes "why are they doing this to the moon? Why are they taking away all the mystery? I do NOT want to know its secrets, when I look up I only see Tanya....glowing like an ancient queen on her throne...Oh Tanya why did you leave me to go out with that jack ass Vikas?"
My heart filled with pity for this emotional heart, filled with tender pain. (Although I do not much care for the name LoveSong21. Who does he think he is? Pavarotti?)
Tanya writes back, a tad carelessly if I might add, "stop giving out my name on a public chat room you donkey. you are not worth Vikas' toenail."
But then the business of love thrives on heartbreaks.
India's moon mission has taken off with a bang. and in the next two years scientists hope to get a glimpse of what keeps the moon people ticking.
I do not know if stripping the moon of all its mysteries will do science any great deal of good, but I know for sure it will kill Indian poetry.
Kalidasa's description of a moonlit summer night in Ritusamhara, Sukanto's hard-hitting "khudhar jogotey prithibi godyomoy, purnimar chaand jeno jholshano ruti (all is prose in the world of hunger, the full moon seems like bread to the hungry), Tagore's ode to the moon - over the ages, poets have idolized, worshipped and feted the moon.
And not just in India. Shakespeare writes "O, swear not by the moon, the fickle moon, the inconstant moon".
Not to mention the one million songs written in Bollywood comparing the female lead with the timeless beauty of the moon.
Who will explain to these romantic types that the gravity and atmospheric pressure of the moon is such that it will never support life forms. Its extreme temperature, combined with lack of atmospheric oxygen and water is ideally suited for tourism, if you want a very expensive and violent death.
But will that stop people the world over from eulogising about the moon? I think not. I have a suspicion, that the Indian Poets Association was silent all this while because it was Europe, America and Russia that were intruding the moon.
Since its India doing it now, their hurt, silent, and gentle indignation knows no bounds.
My heart goes out to them and if I were a poet I would not worry so much.
We now know all marine species and life forms there is to know, right?
But has it stopped men from comparing their lover's eyes with the "deep blue sea"?