If there’s anything that I’ve found particularly curious about Bangalore, it’s the night sky.
The colour of the night sky in Bangalore is a luminous red. It looks as though someone has set a giant fire ablaze on earth and let it run amok up the heavens. It’s an unsettling orange, reflecting the light from the non existent street lights, setting aglow hopes and dreams of the thousand odd migrants, who probably think that city skies are devoid of stars and happiness.
I complain about this odd nocturnal occurrence almost daily. One might wonder why this upsets me so; me, a girl who was born and raised in a city far more crowded and polluted than Namma Bengaluru.
But, I always saw stars in my Bombay sky. Twinkling diamonds, solar systems from another galaxy, reminding me of my insignificance and yet, filling me with an undeniable and wholesome happiness.
I often went star gazing with my brother. I usually went up to the terrace with him, my first hero, my big ‘bro’ and we tried to guess the placements of the various constellations in the expanse of the night sky. Of course, we didn’t see too many stars, it was awfully polluted in Bombay, and the dazzling array of street lights, traffic lights, home lights, whathaveyou lights, made it hard to spot too many twinkling beauties. After all, this was the city that never slept.
Star gazing in Mangalore, on the other hand, was magical. The setting was perfect. Close to no pollution- of light or air, and complete silence, save the chirping crickets. Fresh, unadulterated air, and we’d carry a Walkman to listen to some good ol’ 90s music, while we laid down in the courtyard and looked up at the diamonds in the sky. This is where Arnold showed off his nerdy astronomical knowledge and taught me how to spot the Great Bear; the star my favourite Harry Potter character was named after and the star that would help me find my way back if I ever got lost without a compass to guide me.
I never see stars in Bangalore. Just the same blood red sky. A stark reminder that life is different now, and that even though the moon is the same everywhere, 900 kilometers away, my parents and friends at home look up at a different sky.
It’s been the same red sky for 3 months. I look up everyday, without fail, and greet a fiery horizon.
Not today, though.
On my birthday, the first I spent away from home and the first without anyone I’ve grown up with, I looked up and saw, in the clear inky blue sky, God’s own twinkling little fairy lights.
On a day that was tinged with sadness and melancholy for having to spend the day that celebrates my existence away from everyone who cared about it, this came as a surprise more wonderful than any other. It filled me with a happiness that spread within my whole being and radiated across the skies. It was the Universe’s way of simulating a bit of Home, just for me. It was as though Saturn and Uranus threw me a private party.
It was the most beautiful birthday gift I’d ever received.