The impending collision of our Milky Way with the LMC (Large Magellanic Cloud) will bring celestial scale events into our neighborhoods. This may not happen for another two billion years from now, but in universal scale that time is not very far away. Initially merger with the Andromeda Galaxy was expected first, but now the race may go to LMC. These events of intergalactic mergers, is quite common in our crowded, and expanding universe. The biggest danger is that this infusion of new gasses and stars, into the near dormant black hole at the center of our galaxy, may provide fuel to it. This will feed it into activity, and it is expected to grow exponentially larger, with the new energy.
Our Black hole will become a
Quasar, and start its own celestial event. The energy expelled at near light
speed, by the resulting Quasar, will change our Milky Way. “Should this happen,
the stars that currently call the Milky Way’s galactic center home will, sadly,
have to yield the neighborhood they know and love, to a new population of
cosmic emigrants from the LCM. According to the researchers, many stars will be
sucked into the growing black hole at the galactic center; other stars,
reacting to all the extra mass pouring into their neighborhood, could be flung headlong into
interstellar space, quadrillions of miles away.” Written by Brandon
Specktor in Live Science.
Unfortunately we will not be
around to see these interstellar events but hopefully our descendants (if human
survive), will experience it. According to another model built by the
astrophysicists at Durham UK, who predicted the 2 billion time frame, our solar
system may not be effected, due to its location. We will not be in direct
harm’s way, and may actually enjoy seeing new events, in the skies. New stars
and gasses, will crowd into our galaxy, changing our skyline.
Please don’t fasten your
seatbelts just yet, to travel and see one of the brightest objects in space,
the Quasar. No psychedelic could ever match, the actual merger of two galaxies,
into a celestial soup; of energy, and light. This soup unlike LSD (psychedelic drug),
will be so thick and strong, that it will produce sights, not possible till
today. The scale of this event, will be truly spectacular, and grander than any
human imagination. Our solar system is far too insignificant and young, to be
included, in this new universal show. We will be left on the sidelines, with
great spectator seats.
There are other galaxies
colliding at random, in our universe today. We have billions of galaxies and
pulsars and quasars out there, and billions of black holes. Their birth and death,
are the celestial events, which no one can predict for certain, and they are
not part of any great master plan. They rise and fall, in their own time and
space. We do not even know if we live in a multiverse existence, as we can only
see and know the existence of our own universe. From a flat earth we are
evolving in our knowledge, and maybe dark matter and dark energy; which are over
90% of our known universe, have other secrets, that we have yet to unravel.
There are many amongst us that
consider themselves, the master of this universe. Others believe in a Supreme
God, shaped in their own beliefs, who controls the destiny of all living and
organic matter. These gods reap vengeance, on those who do not believe in them.
Their blind followers unleash wars, on other non-believers. The scale of their
narrow mindedness, belies the actual reality, of what is all around us. Venus is
not the goddess of love and Mars is no longer the God of war, as our
understanding and times have changed. We look up into the heavens and see our
future, but cannot even understand our own past.
Look inwards and we find
another universe of millions of creatures, who dwell in us and what is their
God? The only answer is energy, of our life forms. Long as the energy is kept
alive, we live, and when it fades; we die, and become fodder, for millions of
other cells. Our greatness lies not in conquering the world, but in conquering ourselves.
The danger of superstition and false beliefs, creates rifts between us and
nature. We end by destroying, that which provides us life, in our ignorance.
True reality is when we realize the meaning of how to live, with compassion and
love. Hate is natural and fear is elemental, to our nature. We have many
leaders who have risen, who fan this hate and bigotry, in the name of clan,
nation but mostly religion.
They are the unrealized and to follow them, is to plunge ourselves into a darkness of spirit and action. Seek the light and you will renounce these shallow beliefs. There is much to learn and we have lived only a spec, of cosmic time. The cosmos is the reality, and we are the pilgrims in search of it. This earth is our witness, and we have proven ourselves wanting, on many counts. Enjoy this randomness of colliding universes, as in this insignificance, is our greatest glory. We are the masters only of our fate, and destiny is only a thought, that should be abandoned. Conquest and pillage is our history, for survival. We must find a better way, if we want to enjoy cosmic time.
Knowledge is limitless and so why limit ourselves to a faith, which limits others, as less than equal? Which colliding Galaxy is stronger or larger, only time will tell; and we, or our man-made God, does not control their destiny. I am, so the universe exists. I learn, and our humanity improves, is the only truth. Our universe blesses us with a celestial dance, to be enjoyed for the ages. Our moral responsibility is to teach our children well, so that we and our gods can survive, to witness this truly cosmic event!
Avalokitesvara_Statue looking over the sea of sorrow – China
Gupta Ji’s car was the first car that I had ever ridden in. His son Munna (his school name was Vishnu, but nobody called him that), was in my class, in the local government school. While my family could not afford any other school Munna was in my school, after going to the better local school, where his caste boys went. He was not happy moving to our bigger school and missed the pampering and love in the old school. . His older brother and sister would dress up, in their uniforms and ties and blazers, and take the bus; to their respective Christian schools, for a ‘better’ education now. Munna being darker, and the youngest, was stuck with us, as he was not the heir apparent, or apple of his father’s eye. His father liked the fairer, stronger and taller elder brother better. Surya was fair after his mother and carried himself well, like her proud soldier father, and Gupta Ji, would praise him to the heavens, behind his back, to Munna and me. Sometimes he even did it when Surya was around, when he got too carried away. Soon Surya would be taller than his father and would still smile, and bow low.
Usha his sister, was the
more studious one. I would often see her standing at her bus stand, reading a
book, while she was waiting. After some years she got spectacles, and Mrs.
Gupta complained, that it came from all the reading. What good would it do a
girl, to read so much, and not help her own mother, in the kitchen, and house work?
Who would marry a girl with spectacles, or accept a daughter in law, who was
nearsighted, and not talented, in everyday affairs? Usha continued to study
harder, and Gupta Ji quietly supported her, as she reminded him, so much, of
his beautiful wife. He soon discovered that Usha is much smarter, and far more
intelligent, and encouraged her education.
My name is Adarsh and my
family lived in the Barsati on the top floor of Mr Gupta’s three storey home.
Our barsati was a 12 by 11 foot space on the red brick lined roof of their
home. A few Asbestos sheets had been thrown across the eight foot walls of the
living room, bedroom, kitchen, making a bare roof. The wall was raised another
6 feet at one end in a crude extension of another 10 by 11 feet. This loft had
a wooden ladder, led up to this wooden floor boards with a coarse cotton sheet
covered by a stuffed cotton mattress, to sleep, read, or play, in one corner.
The rest was made for storage of other household goods, pantry, traveling trunks
and mother’s things.
It also served as my sleeping space, when I
got older with two of my siblings, in the winter. Most of the year we slept on
our durries and sheets, on the bricks, on the open terrace. Of course it would
get slightly tricky, in the monsoons, when we had to huddle in our barsati,
under the Asbestos sheets. Mother and Father of course had their own, wooden
legged rope strung beds, and there were two spare ones, kept for any visitors
who may arrive.
We were refugees from our
town and nobody knew us. Then my father had managed to get some reference from
a Bank friend, from his own town, and Gupta Ji had agreed to rent out, his
empty barsati to us. Father would leave early in the morning, to work at his
fruit stall, near the main cloth and textile Bazar, and would return in the
evening. He had long days as he also had to go to the main fruit market, which
was half an hour away. He travelled with his cane headgear tray and cotton bags
to get supplies, by the local unreliable government bus service. Often he would
spend many hours walking to and fro, on days when the bus did not show up, or
was too full. He also got some local produce from the farmers around, to
replenish his cart on credit, to keep us fed and clothed, during the season.
Many years later I was
working in New Delhi as an accountant in a public sector enterprise and posted
in New Delhi. After finishing High School in our neighboring town, I had gone
to the State Capital to do my Bachelor in Commerce and eventually, graduated
second in the class. From there I got a stipend in a local accounting firm to
try and do my Chartered Accountancy. I also sat for the Government Service and
to my family’s surprise passed in my second attempt and became a provincial
officer of the Indian Government. Over the years I had worked hard and learned
much and got this much desired posting in our nation’s capital.
Munna had gone on after High
School to work at his father’s business. His sister who had gone to Delhi
University to study on a scholarship insisted that he must at least complete a
Degree college. Poor Munna struggled through the Town’s college, when he wished
only to be home working in the family business. He failed twice and what should
have taken him three years stretched into five. As soon as he graduated Mrs.
Gupta married him off to the fair daughter, of one of the leading Spice
Merchants, in the Town.
Even I was invited and it
was a grand affair, by Gupta standards, with a special DJ brought from the big
City to entertain and get us guests, to dance at the private celebrations. Our
Barat was welcomed with a huge display of fireworks. Even the elephant that
Munna was riding in all his Groom finery, was rented by his Father in Law. He
wanted to show off his new educated bridegroom, to his neighbors and fellow
townsfolks. We all danced in our colorful turbans and beautiful clothes, to the
DJ blaring wedding songs, and encouraging all kinds of ideas. The Brass Band
and Drums when we marched down the main road, added to the clamor and
cacophony, of the Bania celebration. The wedding had been planned for months,
and the clan had gathered from far and near. There was great excitement and
celebrations in the joining of two major Bania families.
I briefly met Usha and she
had graduated from her Masters in Social Work, from the University of Delhi and
worked with some NGOs. She felt that she needed to make a career for herself,
in her field. Her mother was forcing her to get married soon and she was
literally on display, at her brother’s wedding, for all prospective grooms, in
their clan. The boys of course knew little about this, and it was more the
Mothers and Aunts, who participated in the gossip, of which boy is available in
which family. They decided between them as to which family, will provide the
suitable bride. Usha had blossomed into a beautiful, tall, fair, confident
woman. She had adopted contact lenses somewhere along the way, and her brown
eyes seemed to sparkle, along with all her jewelry.
A few year’s later I had met
Munna and his family at a common family friend’s wedding. It was good catching
up with him and he informed me, that Usha had moved to Delhi. She had recently
married into a large family and he asked me to look her up, if I had a chance.
I took her address and put the slip in my wallet. He mentioned that his Mother
was not happy with her first visit home, after her marriage. There had been
loud words spoken in her room, between Usha and his mother. It seemed they
wanted her to give up her career. Usha had recently got a job working at an
international NGO, which provided health care; to pregnant ladies, and newborn
babies. They provided better nutrition and did tests, to identify any problems
early. She loved running the group of nurses, who provided the care, even to the
poorest of the poor.
Munna gave me her address
and told me look her up. He invited me to his new home, if I ever traveled to Jaipur,
as they had set up a new branch there. His two older brothers, ran Delhi and
Bombay branches, of the family business. His parents preferred to stay with Munna,
because the dry weather, helped his mother’s asthma. They were very orthodox
and now with the community in the small town becoming abusive of Usha’s ways.
They believed strongly that a woman, should stay at home, with her babies. After
Asha was born, Usha was up and about in six months. She worked harder at
helping even more children at work now, that she had a daughter of her own. A
year later she had another daughter, and hired a nanny after six months. Usha
continued her work, as she was managing more centers and providers now, in her
Three years later I got an
assignment in Jaipur, for a week. I pulled out the folded paper from my coat
pocket with Munna’s address. We met that evening after work at his home. His
wife had cooked delicious snacks and dinner and his young son, crawled around
everywhere. Munna had put on weight and he looked very happy. His business was
doing well and Gupta Ji was glad to see me and we talked about the old times in
Delhi. It was Munna’s wife who whispered to me that all was not well with Usha,
as I said good bye.
Two years ago I had looked
her up in Delhi. I had looked her up on social media, but couldn’t find her at
first. Then I tried with her married name, and suddenly I hit a lot of pages of
awards, and recognitions of Usha’s work. Apparently even the State of Delhi,
had recognized her NGO’s efforts, in helping reduce death rates, in their
areas. More women welcomed the midwives, and the nurses, in their need. Under
their guidance the infants became stronger. Each year the NGO trained more, and
each year Usha seemed to get a different award for reducing the death rate, by
another X percent, or more children getting better nutrition.
I met her in her modern and
efficient office near the heart of Lutyen’s Delhi, in an old secretariat
building. The place seemed very busy, but she made time for me right away in
her large personal office with her name on the table. Usha sha-shoed away her
visitors, to spend time with her old friend. She ordered nice aromatic tea, and
we ate the delightful snacks, that came from her home and the canteen. We spoke
for some time about her daughter, and how life had changed for her. She was
happy to see me, but she had to rush off to the British consulate; for a tea
affair, and we parted. In parting I noticed splotch marks, on her back, as if
she had fallen and hurt herself.
Off and on I would hear about the birth of her second daughter and her return to work. We had our own lives but it was just the comfort of having an old friend close by. She was busy with her work and family. I was astonished to read in the paper one Tuesday morning, that here had been a fire in Usha’s home and she was dead. Munna called and I rushed to Gupta Ji’s house. It was strange to be there after so many decades. I could still hear Usha’s laughter from her room where she read. Munna’s wife greeted me and led me to the room were the men of the family was gathered, in mourning.
“Usha looked so happy when I met her last week, and she was glowing with joy. She was so happy, that she was going to have another daughter. The family wanted her to abort the girl and she refused. They should be all thrown in jail, for doing this to her” was all she whispered to me, as Munna’s old friend. Then she folded her hands and left to be with the other ladies who had come to express their grief. The room door was open and Usha’s mother’s wails, continued to break the home’s silence, in sporadic outpouring of grief.
.It was strange to be in the room, with everyone dressed, in white sitting on white sheets. The only thing in color was Usha’s photo, in an ivory frame and a garland of ivory and flowers, around it. I could not believe that the beautiful woman in full bloom of her life, was no more. I had secretly loved her I realized, from as long, as I could remember. I stared at her smiling face, and then noticed that even in that photo she had a blueish blotch, on her breast, peeking through her sari. Something, more than I had ever know, so personal in my subconscious within me; died, at the realization, of what Munna’s wife, had tried to convey to me, an year ago. I could not imagine that any human could have done this, to my beautiful Usha, for having no sons. In a room of mourning men, I sat on the floor, with tears slowly rolling down, my cheeks quitely. Every shriek of her mother, would pierce my very heart, with added sorrow. I just sat there and thought of all the mothers and children, Usha had helped. In her short and shining life she had given so much to so many. We are all the lesser for being, what we have become, as human compassion has been forgotten.
The Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, is a report released in May 2019 by the UN, and it is dire news for all fellow living beings, on our Mother Earth. The continued pillage of natural flora and fauna, to meet the agricultural needs, to feed 7 billion humans is devastating our planet. For one species alone, to virtually annihilate all others is the path we are on if we don take action. An estimated 82 percent of wild mammal biomass, has been lost, since their last warning, just a few decades ago. This loss in our fellow mammals, with the closest gene relationships, is a clear indication, of the heartless and willful destruction; of whales, tigers; and other mammals, large and small. It is not that we have even spared ancient species like amphibians, where almost 40 percent have similarly declined; in living environments available, and their numbers.
When I went to remote Maldives, I was devastated to see the white and dead reefs, where previously there had been extensive colored corrals, and schools of fish. Almost a third of reef-building corals, have been lost around our world. With global warming, it’s likely to prove deadlier, for this fragile ecosystem. As the oceans come under pressure, more than a third of the exiting marine mammals, have disappeared. The sight of Polar Bears roaming in areas, where they were never seen before, in search of food, is heart rendering. Bee populations have been decimated, and 10 percent of all insect populations, are threatened with extinction, in the near future.
The Report called on countries, to begin focusing on restoring natural habitats, and providing corridors needed for creatures to move about. All illegal logging must be stopped, and instead large areas need to be returned, to nature, with help from our best organizations. Humans have to learn the science of growing more food, on less land. Vertical cities, will need vertical farms, to feed them. The overfishing of our natural reservoirs has to stop. Fresh water bodies should be restored, to avoid severe water shortages in the future. Water harvesting and drip agriculture, will be needed on a massive scale. We cannot allow the continued dumping of heavy metals, and waste water into our natural bodies. Lastly nations need to take more action, to protect their marine areas. Offshore drilling reductions, waste and plastic removal and reduction of pollution strategies must be implemented on a massive scale. Marine protection habitats are all required urgently to ensure large swaths of Ocean are cleaned, of man-made pollution, and returned back to its rightful inhabitants.
The final recommendation is that we are all in this together, or else we will each die, separately. Economic drivers for polluting the earth and making it unfit for other creatures to survive, is no longer a viable option. Nations need to change their taxation systems, and economic penalties, to stop the continued pollution of our land, oceans and atmosphere. The money gained from these should be funds spent towards, doing what is right for all of us. The more environmentally beneficial programs we embark on, the better we will be. With this second warning in as many decades, the UN has put us on notice; that we and many of the creatures around us, are on a very destructive path. It is urgent to take action, and amend our way; before we lose most of what is so beautiful, on our planet: – the biodiversity of life that nature has created, over billions of years!