"I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be 'happy'. I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. It is, above all, to matter and to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all."

- Leo C. Rosten

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Astronomy For Children

During my schooldays I had many dreams, much more wishes, and much colourful dreams. A child’s mind is always busy doing something or the other that might seem foolish and useless to the grown-ups. But the sweetness of childhood is so true to the heart of the child that it keeps him closer to heaven. The other day I was cleaning my library when I came across a four page manuscript. When I saw it, I smiled, kept down the duster, and sat down on the sofa to read it. The manuscript bore the title, foreword, contents, and the first page of the first chapter of a book that I had started writing in my childhood. It was called – “Astronomy for Children: the Birthday and Life of the Universe”. I had never completed the book. I do not remember why I had stopped writing after I had written the first page. But the little that exists has touched my heart. It even wonders me how I thought that I might be publishing it when I would become a man and accordingly I wrote the foreword at that time making it sound like a grown-up man. Here it goes:


Astronomy for Children: The Birthday and Life of the Universe

By Subhanjan Sengupta



My Dear Children,

When I started writing this book, I remember, I was fifteen. The year I wrote this was a trammelled year for me. My results at class tests were pathetic and there were grown-ups all around staring at me with their blinding grim eyes. But that did not stop me from writing for you. And that’s because I had always felt a profound love for you.

When I first sat down to write this book, I was about to become a teenager. In a way, I was a child myself. But I had love for children younger to me. And I always felt I had to write something for you; something that would be sweet, yet scientific to you. And thus my pen got busy to write this book. Moreover, I could have never written this if I had been a grown-up. Most lose their sense of beauty and sense of purpose when they become grown-ups.

I dedicate this book to all of you who read it. Young boys and girls fall in love with each other. And I wish this book makes you fall in love with stars.

With Love,

Subhanjan Sengupta


The Universe speaks:

"Hello children, I am your Universe. Today I am going to tell you my story. Here is my story in the following chapters:

Chapter 1 -          'My Birthday'

Chapter 2 -          'I Am a Family'

Chapter 3 -          'My Lifestyle'

Chapter 4 -          'The Solar Family'

Chapter 5 -          'Your Earth and Your Moon'

Chapter 6 -          'Man’s Quest for Cosmic Knowledge'

Chapter 7 -          'Probes and Satellites'

Chapter 8 -          'The End' "



Chapter 1

“Hello Children.

I am your universe.

I was born in one magic moment ten to twenty thousand million years ago. And believe me; no one knows what was there before my birth. May be nothing at all; no time, no space. My birth was the very first second created. And that second was created because I was born. This seems weird. Isn’t it? Well listen to this:

I was born. And billions of years after that on my lap was born your mom and dad, and then you. For all of us, our birthdays have a similarity. And what is that similarity? That similarity is that we all have mothers. You have a mother. I had a mother too. Your mother is a sweet woman. My mother was something extremely hot and of an incredibly high density.

Now let us discuss what density is. When we say that something is dense, we mean that it is closely packed. For example, when we say that a crowd is dense, we mean that there are lots of people in the crowd and the people are very close to each other. It is this quality of being dense that is known as density. So when I say I was born from something of very high density, I mean that my birth was out of something that was made up of matter which was very closely packed."




I do not remember what happened after this; why I had not written any further. I only wish I had completed the book. I wonder whether I have that mind and heart to try to go down deep inside my soul and explore the child inside me to start writing again. I wish I had even a little bit of the child-like-enthusiasm that Exupery had.